Cold in Cuckney – Every Second Counts

After achieving a personal best 10 mile time last week, getting a new saddle (more on that later) on loan (thanks Russell Brown) and doing a couple of solid training sessions this week I was feeling confident about the upcoming 10 mile TT down at Cuckney. Course familiarity would surely play a part and give me (and a few of my team mates) an edge on those racing it for the first time. On Thursday night I spent time putting the new Adamo Prologue saddle on my bike and also making a few adjustments, adjustments that I’d hope would see it setup nicely for my Friday night training / pre race session.

Friday night, climbed aboard the bike, immediately sensed the saddle needed lowering a bit but on the plus side the saddle felt ok, nothing being squashed, no discomfort, signs were good. I’d relocated the turbo from outside to in and after 20 minutes I sweating profusely so did a couple of short efforts and then packed up ready for an early morning test prior to the race. This is far from ideal but it’s what I’m having to contend with in the search for comfort.

Race day morning

The conditions had changed quite a bit, it was now quite cold and the wind was getting up so not a day for fast times but having done my customary up, down, up, down of my own road to test the saddle I was happy with things, much happier than last week that’s for sure. At around 1pm I headed down to Cuckney to get ready for my 15:11 start time.

HQ arrival

My previous club Bolsover & District were putting on the event so quite a few familiar faces were at the HQ but having been given instruction to park at the finish line rather than the HQ I signed in, got my number and headed off down the road.

At the layby were some more familiar faces, notably Paddy Gould from Matlock CC and my team mate Bill Seddon. Paddy was off early, which was great for me because I knew I could gauge how things were going by what time he put in. After completing his race he’d done 22:37 from a similar power that he’d normally be looking to try and break that 21 minute barrier. So whilst he was a little baffled, what was clear was that it was a slow day out there.

Due to the cold I faffed around a bit at the start to try and keep warm but finally, having got kitted up I decided to begin my warm up. Being that it’s my local course I had no issues with timings and after a chat with another team mate Jeremy Stone, who’d also been left baffled by a slower time that he’d expected I decided the best way to get warmed up would be head back to the HQ then use the hill to the start to get the blood pumping. I was annoyed at myself for forgetting my tiger balm to warm my legs up, must add that to my pre race list.

Race time

I arrived at the start with a few minutes spare but whilst my mind was slowly getting in the zone, I was cold, so much so I kept my gloves on. With my ex-club mate Craig Devonshire on pushing off duties I readied myself for the blast down the hill, clicked start on the Garmin and then as the time keeper finished his countdown off I went. Before I go on, I’ll just say the marshaling job done on this course was superb, there are quite a few junctions, each one was manned by someone in fluro, it gave me great confidence as I passed each one.

Photo courtesy of Craig Zad 

Bolover  District 10-402-(ZF-8168-32679-1-001)

Comparison to last week

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So, back to the race. After the gift hill start I buckled down to battering myself to the turn which is about 5.5 miles from the start, with very cold temps (about 6-7 degrees) and a headwind approaching 12-15mph I found the going tough, much tougher than the warm temps of last week. I was trying to keep to my intended power and carrying out my strategy, things seemed to be going ok, power looked good and despite a bit of fidgeting the saddle felt fine.

Last week, it was more about being aware of the speed of the traffic passing you, this week as well as traffic it’s the surface that requires attention. Generally it’s very good, much better than Hatfield, but it does demand your attention. A few places on the way out I seemed to lose concentration, almost to the point of having to tell myself to focus, but this was more likely due to the nature of the course and the power going up and down rather than my own brain so I kept pushing on.

About 1.5 miles from the turn I passed Conor Mcguigan and then the next thing to focus on was the hill before the turn and then turn itself. As I climbed the hill I felt slow, I should have pushed harder at the bottom to carry some speed but I eventually reached the top (it’s only a 200 metres in length, it’s not exactly Ventoux) I was determined to nail the turn. I gave a quick glance back and then had to give an arm signal (costing time) to show I was going right. Moving to the outside I passed one exit and then kept to the inside of the next, slowing slightly as a car was actually coming before exiting the third part of the turn without being hindered. Course knowledge is vital on the turn, there were quite a few riders saying they lost time, well tough!

Home run

4.5 miles to go, conditions more favourable it’s time to really bang out every single watt you can muster in search of a good placing on that leader board. Miles 5.5 to 7.5 went by in a blur, indeed looking at Strava I was actually 9th overall on a segment that had been created, 5th on the day so clearly I’d got back up to speed quite quickly. That theme continued for the whole return leg, I was only 26s slower than the race winner, although this was probably due in part to not going hard enough on the way out.

The last couple of miles were pretty painful, although thankfully not saddle related. I was giving everything my legs had and as I reached about 9.5 miles I really went for it, cresting the final small incline and then accelerating toward the best site in Nottinghamshire, the finish line. As I crossed the line I hit the stop button, 22:25 flashed up (matching my existing course PB, set on a better day), so add on a couple seconds and I’d be looking at 22:27, first emotion was satisfied, second emotion get turned around and get a drink.

Having got changed and packed the bike away I got out the iphone so I could do some videoing. As Bill came back to the car he seemed pretty satisfied, having given him my time he said he’d done similar. Having got some footage of Simon and also of Dan we decided it was time to head back to the HQ.

With Dan one of the favourites and myself and Bill doing the times we had, the team prize would surely be ours. Sure enough as I entered the HQ, on the projector my time came up as 22:27, a few minutes later Bill’s came up, 22:26, git!!!! But moving on….. our names were well within the top 20 at this point, we’d gone pretty well.

Bill vs Murph

At the turn I was 2 seconds down, 4 seconds quicker at 8 miles, after 9.5 miles we were level, at the finish I was 1 second behind.

compare

Results

Scanning the leader board every few seconds, our positions were holding, current leader was Simon Beldon from SSLL racing team, 20:56 was his time. Only question now, could Dan beat it? The next time I looked around Beldon was now in second, replaced by Dan with a 20:53!! Bosh! 1st place for Dan, confirming we’d also (with Bill and me) got the team prize. A good day both individually and for the team.

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Result Sheet (abbreviated, there were 110 riders in total).

results

No races for a few weeks, time to get back to the training, I wonder if that saddle needs adjusting….

RIP Paul Daniels (title seemed apt)

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