Having left early from work I arrived at race HQ earlier than planned, but after a 2 hour drive this did at least give me chance to stretch my legs a bit before my 7:15pm start on the infamous V718 course in South Cave Hull. I’ve lost count how many times I had checked the various weather sites this week but the consensus was that we would be in for a good night if the rain cleared. When the time came to get ready, thankfully the rain had stopped, it wasn’t so much the rain I was concerned with but the impact it might have on my visor, more on that later.
As usual there were plenty of Team Bottrill riders there and it was also good to meet Alex Taylor, finally putting a name to a face from the time trial forum. Having had a good weeks training on the bike my expectations began to grow, especially as my various illnesses seem to be finally relenting, so what was the aim? Simple, 19:59 which would equate to a 30mph average and the achievement of my seasons goal. After a brief (and wet) shakedown on the bike to make sure everything was working ok I began the 5 mile ride to the start, conditions felt good and whilst it was wet there wasn’t any spray coming from the traffic which was a huge relief.
As I got to the start (a bit too early) I felt quite nervous, I guess it’s a long way to come to have a bad ride, it’s also not nice not seeing my little boy, so the need to put in a good time to justify both of those was quite high. I’d scraped into this event courtesy of my 20:45 earlier in the season, my course PB was 21:01, I also did a 21:07 on Wiggins day, so I had a minute to find on this course, 46 seconds to find to achieve my 19:59.
As the starter released me I built up my speed gradually, conscious that big efforts had been causing problems but as I entered the dual carriageway (DC) I focused my efforts on hitting as close to 31mph as I could to the turn. It took a while for the Garmin to show 30mph+ average and I did actually feel quite slow in places, not sure whether this was poor concentration or the fact I’m currently lacking a few watts. But anyway, back to business, at around 4.5 miles the off ramp for the turn came into view, my plan here was to go hard to minimise the loss of speed, not sure if this extra push caused it but at this point my visor went from crystal clear to completely fogged, not good.
Negotiating the turn needed a bit of care, a greasy surface and impaired vision not a great mix, but I scooted around the double roundabouts (brilliantly marshalled) and headed down the on ramp of the DC to begin my run for home. At this point my average speed was on track, 30.5mph, I’d have a slower average speed for the return leg, no doubt about that but it was a case of hanging on, a task sure to be made easier by the lack of a headwind (finally).
The biggest issue and it was a major issue was my visor, I could not see very well at all, I could make out where I was in relation to the lane, I would be able to see objects in front of me but it was really hard to spot the changes in terrain. So when the road went up, or down for that matter, I felt like I wasn’t going to be pushing hard enough, or having a brief (very, very brief) rest. However, knowing I was on for a good time and maybe that “19” there was no other thing to do but give it everything. I could feel myself lifting out of position slightly to see better and no doubt give my lungs room to breathe but where possible I just kept myself solid (new saddle working brilliant) and kept my power as high as possible.
The last bit
As I came to the last few miles, my focus was on the average speed indicator on my Garmin, 29.5mph it read, but I knew the last mile was going to be quicker than the previous two so I really did give it everything. At about 9.5 miles I twisted my head to the side in a desperate effort to clear my visor, the result of that sent me off course a bit and I hit a cat’s eye (the lights in the road not an actual cats eye) with an almighty wallop, at this point I remember looking at my front tyre and saying to myself “do not go down”, I said this because by now the average was creeping up, it was 29.6mph as I completely emptied myself to the line. As I hit stop “20:13” flashed up, not quite what I had hoped for but certainly a great result.
Back to HQ
As I made my way back to HQ, I had a real good feeling that my team mate Bill would have achieved his goal of doing a 19:59, with the conditions being as they were and him being very aerodynamic I was delighted when his time came up on the board, 19:59. I think I was more excited than we was, (Bill not really the excitable type) and I know the effort that’s been put in to achieve that time. I waited outside the HQ for him to roll back in, I may have clapped, but didn’t quite get to the hugging stage, he was naturally delighted (with the 19, and probably the lack of a hug) so a good night for both of us.
Bill vs Murph – How it unfolded
Quite a different pattern to our respective races, Bill forging ahead at 8 miles.
The times began to filter in and before long all the times were up on the board, as usual some great performances by my team mates and then scanning the board lots of “19” and five 18s were achieved, the conditions whilst not perfect were certainly favourable, I was glad that I’d managed to get my place on the start sheet, happy to get the PB and happy in the knowledge that I know I can do that 19. I was actually 15-20W down on what I can normally produce, so if I can up the power, demist the visor and get good conditions I think 19:45 might be possible, but I won’t get greedy, the 19:59 will do for now.
Next Open event will be the Mapperley Cycling Club 10 on the 28th May, but if the weather is ok I’ll do a club 10 next week as well. Special thanks to my coach Dan Barnett for keeping me motivated and also a big thanks to Mike and all the helpers for putting on last nights event.