Before writing this post (oh sorry, the race report is further down, if you don’t want to die of boredom quite so early I’d skip to that), I did a bit of soul searching as I felt an honest assessment was needed. Over the last couple of months I’ve felt things have been a bit of struggle, illness has played it’s part but I’ve not felt as committed to the sport of time trialing as I feel I should be or need to be given the targets I have set myself.
On Saturday I took a wrong turn on a 25 mile TT meaning that I recorded a DNF “Did not finish”, even though it was my first time on the A25/11 this should not happen on a course primarily run on a dual carriageway, it’s not like negotiating a foreign country in the dark. You follow the signs or better still, have a clear idea of the important parts of the course and memorise them. This will not happen again. (It’s happened before…….)
Looking back I feel like I’ve spent October to February fighting things, whether that be the battle for time to train, illness, equipment envy or the fact every time I get on my TT bike it just doesn’t feel right. I’m pretty sure that without a coach I would have jacked it in but despite all the above I’ve hung in there and a few races into the season my performances have been solid enough for me to think that I need to stop making excuses, take stock and get myself organised. A coach can only do so much, they can’t turn the pedals for you.
So fresh week, fresh outlook on things, it’s time to get my shit together, so what am I going to do?
- Better organisation / Have a plan B
- Things will always crop up, but being able to adapt an overcome is really important to stay motivated, be ready for training and to ensure I don’t miss a session
- Sort my nutrition out
- Meals not too bad, hang on I said honest assessment….. My meals need to be much better
- Cut down on the crap, just because those Crunchies are 4 for £1 does not mean I have to buy them
- Get more sleep
- I feel like I’m fragile enough as it is, getting more sleep will help me recover better
- Complete every training session
- No explanation required
- Switch on / Switch off
- Get on the bike, train / race hard then lock the shed door and forget about it until I need to get on the bike again
- Race Days
- Have everything (bike setup, bag packed, course memorised) done the night before, this will leave more time for real life and less juggling of priorities
- Have strategy engraved on my brain
I think if I can listen to my own advice it’ll all come good.
Race Report – BDCA 25 mile TT
On Saturday myself and 12 other Team Bottrill riders were competing on the super-fast A25/ 11 course near Etwall in Derbyshire. It’s a 25 mile course ran mostly on a dual carriageway (DC), the weather conditions had been improving all week so things looked good for a fast time.
Having arrived at HQ on time and got myself setup, I then endured the piss taking of messrs Seddon, Travell and Ledger about various things, (my white legs, the fact I was eating an energy bar, the cables on my bike, the positioning of my light, my saddle, the fact I was carrying a water bottle, the earths gravitational pull to name a few) I commenced my proper warm up. I don’t mind the piss taking, if I’m honest it’s a nice distraction, I take it as a compliment, my legs are really white though.
One thing I didn’t have to worry about was pinning my number to the skin suit, Mrs Supermurph had expertly sewn on some neat looking tabs, marginal gains right there.
I mentioned my warm up, not sure why but whatever I have planned goes completely to pot and with temperatures dropping I just made sure I tried to keep warm, had my final trip to the toilet and then got myself down to the start line with 3 minutes to spare. I’m now wondering if using a turbo trainer might be a better option, or at least an alternative if the start line is close to the HQ.
Sat on the start line, I felt OK, the weather was holding, the wind didn’t seem to be getting up so when the timer counted down off I went. As I rounded the corner to get up to speed it was clear that the weather might not hold, the clouds in the distance were very dark. Regardless of that I got into position and pedaled hard, the out leg was likely to be more difficult so the aim was to go hard to the turn, recover where possible, save a bit for later and then unleash hell. These things I was fine with.
The first roundabout section came at about 2 miles, it was a fiddly affair but well marshaled and I maintained good speed around it. Another roundabout at 7 miles, again signposted, around I went. My power looked on track, the course is not flat by any means there are some drags and even with a few roundabouts to negotiate monitoring average power seemed logical, so far so good. The wind wasn’t too much of factor, mainly cross, so not helping, but not really hindering too much, my biggest issue at this point were the dark clouds, it was clear I was going to get wet.
Picture courtesy of Brian Hall, crystal clear image showing my white legs, cables in the wind, water bottle etc..
At about 8-9 miles, the first few spots of rain began hitting my visor, at 10 miles it was constant rain, the wind also picking up. By now I was experiencing issues with visibility, it was far from ideal and being a relative novice I’d only raced in the rain once and that was on a course I knew so wasn’t an issue, being on an unfamiliar DC it needed attention.
At 12 miles as I approached another roundabout, despite wiping my visor I was barely able to see much at all, but I figured with half the distance covered and despite there being no signs I thought this was the turn so I went around and then began the run for home………
Although not 100%, as soon as I started going the other way I had a feeling I had turned too early, but with the brain depleted of oxygen I figured I’d just keep going. By now it was raining hard and my visor issues had worsened considerably to the point I was going to stop. The feeling of wanting to stop grew and grew, by now I was sure I’d turned too early and I didn’t feel like risking my safety for a time that would probably not matter.
I’d knocked my effort back, my focus had gone and then at about 19 miles (confirmed on Strava Flyby) rider number 63 came past me. I was number 66 meaning he’d set off 3 minutes before me, he’d had me in sights for about 7 miles probably laughing, most likely knowing what I’d done. I was annoyed and pretty demoralised that once again my lack of preparation was going to cost me, but at least it’d soon be over. As I crossed the line I shouted out DNF to indicate to the time keeper not to record my time, the cold and discomfort then began to kick in.
Rider number 63 then said “did you turn too early”, can’t remember my exact response, but I’m sure the annoyance was etched on my face as we rode back to the car park. I changed quickly, nipped back to the HQ to confirm they had me as a DNF then drove off in a diva style huff. It took a few miles to actually warm back up but once I had I thought to myself that I need to start upping my game, hence the preamble at the start of this post. It wasn’t all bad news though, Team Bottrill scooping another team prize. Starting in May there are some club 25’s on this course, I’ll be first in line at sign on to try and put this cock up right.
Onwards!! (hopefully the right way).