So onto the final 10 mile TT of the season, the venue, the super-fast V718 in South Cave near Hull. The first time I raced here I was up against Bradley Wiggins (and a few others…) and put in a solid time of 21:07 in far from ideal conditions, this time I was hoping for better. Training has been going really well, a change in direction on that front has seen some marked improvements so all I need to concern myself with was getting the bike ready and getting to the start line on time.
Swapping the rear wheel over on Saturday morning I suddenly found that it wouldn’t go past the brake blocks, oh joy. So with a few adjustments I banged the wheel on and then adjusted it a bit more so the wheel wasn’t catching the brake blocks, what did cross my mind was that the wheel could have been rubbing on Wednesday at Cuckney… But anyway lets not dwell, car loaded, off I went.
Arrival at HQ
Being the first solo rider off I was lucky enough to grab a spot in the car park, whilst this wasn’t going to take 20 seconds off my time it did make life easier giving the amount of faffing around (kit, toilet, bike setup etc) I do so things were going to plan. The only thing not going to plan was the weather, temperature wise ok but the wind was stronger than last time and also gustier, I’d have it all to do to beat that 21:07.
Still paranoid about those brake blocks catching I went for an initial bike shakedown, all seemed well so back to the HQ to finalise my race prep. Riding from B&DCC today would be myself, Bill Seddon, Mike Dodson, Craig Devonshire and Mike Garvey, getting there early meant I only saw Mike Garvey before I started, I’d see the others later.
The start is a few miles from the HQ, this gives a great opportunity to get warmed up so after a few words of encouragement from Dan Barnett (who was also racing) as I exited the car park, off I went. This time I knew exactly where I was going but unfortunately I arrived at the start a little too early, what was not unfortunate was that it gave me time to sort my brakes out again as they were now dragging. It was at this point I just thought am I really going to need a rear brake? The answer was no so I released the pads as far away as I could and then made my way to the start.
With a few tandems setting off before me I then took up my position and before I knew it, it was that familiar 5,4,3,2, and then 1 and off I rocketed off towards the dual carriageway.
Course profile and performance
You soon get up to speed on the V718, it’s an addictive speed if I’m quite honest, you’re pedaling hard but the speed makes you feel like you’re on an Olympic bobsleigh run, the only thing to remember is this section is the easiest bit, it gets harder, especially into that headwind after the turn. So the plan here, get up to speed, don’t go mental and then settle in as you make your way to the turn.
Race Broken Down
First 2 miles, happy with the power, good average speed.
Miles 2- 4 – Knocking the power off a bit but actually going faster.
Including the turn, miles 4-6
Miles 6-8 including the Welton Drag.
The Welton Drag
After an initial push around the turn and back up to speed to join the dual carriageway the focus then is for around 6.5 miles where you face the “Welton Drag”. This is a really testing mile that can really affect your time either way, my aim was to dig in here and try and maintain as much speed as possible.
This section shown on strava below, shows you the effect of the wind, the top line shows my last race. As you can see, I put out almost 30W more this time but actually went 4 seconds slower. It wasn’t just the speed of the wind, but the gusts that I think affected the speed the most, overall 1mph slower for this 0.8 mile section. For 30 watts in the same conditions you might expect to be 10 seconds quicker. (Someone cleverer than me may disagree).
The final 2 miles
The Welton drag had taken a bit out of me but I was determined to push as hard as I could to the line. After an initial drop in power over a section with a slight decline I was then able to push 321W for the last half mile
As I crossed the line I hit the stop button, “20:58” flashed up, even though I knew the conditions were tough the aim for the day was a sub 21, a Garmin time of 20:58 would probably not quite be enough due to the slight lag at the start. Official time was 21:01, a 6 second improvement on last time on a harder day so all in all a solid performance.
I had to shoot off early and having started first there weren’t many times up on the board so I had to wait until today to find out exactly how I’d done, turns out not too badly, 23rd out of 130 riders. Bill took club honours pipping me by 4 seconds, I was 2nd, Mike Dodson 3rd with 21:12, Craig Devonshire who also PB’d 22:14 and the evergreen Mike Garvey with 25:59. I doubt I’ll be able to break 26 minutes when I’m 74!!
Looking higher up the board I spotted Ian Guilor’s time, 40 seconds the difference, I’m gaining the gap on him. He’s a rider I’ll be targeting next year! I’d normally skip and dance if I was 1 minute behind Dan Barnett, but after a great season I guess he’s allowed an off day, in fact it’s the first time this year he’s not recorded a time that starts with 18 so I’m not getting carried away there!!
So that’s it for 10 miles this year, this weekend will be my final race on the TT bike, 25 miles to do, 54:52 to beat, conditions looking good……