Cuckney at the double – 2UP time trial

After Tuesday’s course PB and a couple of good training sessions my attention soon turned to my next race, a 2Up TT on the same course with my mate and fellow Team Bottrill rider Simon Travell. Simon and I are both coached by Dan and are totally familiar with each other’s capabilities on the bike, this makes a 2Up a little less of a step into the unknown as to how things will go and the way in which we planned to race. When you think of a 2UP you automatically think you’ll rocket down the course and blitz any time you can do on your own, this is potentially the case, but doing a 2Up is quite different to a solo effort. To go faster, you’ll need to make the changes slick and each rider needs to ensure they don’t put the other one into the red zone by riding too hard at certain points, the aim is to get both riders to the finish line in the quickest time, not to beat each other up in the process.

Build up

Prior to the race I’d done my typical bit of over analysis and looked at the pairings that would be racing, in total there would be 27 teams racing, looking at individual times using the CTT website I’d counted 7 teams that would most likely be faster, 7 teams around the same pace and the rest potentially slower. I’d predicted we’d come 8th, time wise it was hard to say due to the potential of bad weather, but as a guide I’d done 21:58 solo so I would have thought something around 21:15 might be possible, but as mentioned that would be reliant on a number of factors.

Race Time

Having missed the opportunity for a practice run on Tuesday we both arrived in plenty of time to do an extended warm up, so we kitted up and set off. Looking at the sky above, there was A LOT of dark clouds around, a soaking seemed inevitable but after a few brief stops we did about 8 miles together and all seemed well as we came back to race HQ. Our start time was 14:20, after a few chats with some of the AMAC boys we made our way up the hill, eventually rolling to the start line with a few minutes to spare. Some familiar faces from B&DCC were on starting duty including Craig Devonshire and Malc and before too long both of us were blasting down the hill in pursuit of a quick time.

The out leg

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As we passed both (well marshalled) cross roads, I heard Simon shout something like “we are alive” as we began the climb up the other side, first job complete. The run to the turn is 5.5 miles, we had a slight tailwind helping us and we soon got into a good rhythm, alternating roughly every 45 seconds. The changes felt pretty good, we passed close together and there was no surging or waiting needed. Every time I looked down through my legs I saw Simon’s wheel close to mine (wahey!) and when I was on the rear I felt like I’d been close too, I certainly managed to get some good recoveries in anyway, no doubt helped by the fact Simon seemed to ride his bike arrow straight, I hoped I was doing the same. I had a slight bum clenching moment when a car passed us a little too closely but other than that we were well on track as we averaged close to 29mph, 0.5mph quicker than I’d gone solo on Tuesday. At 5 miles you hit the hit the hill that signals the turn is fast approaching, being slightly better on the inclines I’d purposely got on the front to help us up the hill, this worked ok, the issue we had was another pairing that we had caught was only a few metres in front of us at this point, this would make the already fiddly turn an even greater challenge.

With Simon slightly behind me and a car approaching from the right my plan was to get around the turn then slow a bit  if needed around the other side, I swung wide overtook the other 2 riders taking a brief glance to see where my partner was, he looked to be carrying good speed around the bend and whilst we still had the other 2 riders in between us it looked like we’d be back together ready to attack the home leg. Well, we would have been if instead of those two guys moving out the way they hadn’t decided to try and jump on my wheel, this was really bad form from them and it meant Simon had to really battle to pass them and put in extra effort to get back up behind me. I didn’t want to slow too much and risk my body thinking the pain was over, on reflection maybe I should have knocked it back a fraction more but regardless it was a bit annoying that this team had interfered with our race.

After dropping down the hill we soon got back into rhythm, the extra effort Simon had put in meant we had to just peg it back momentarily and I did a double turn to help. This worked and then each time Simon was back on the front I got my recovery in to allow us push on once more. Approaching the garden centre there were a number of cars pulling in and out but with marshals there they were at least alerted to our presence, a comforting feeling when you’re making yourself as small as possible doing around 29mph. Safely through we now started to wind it up for the finish.

Almost at the finish

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Naturally having been able to take lots of recoveries (relative term, you still have to pedal bloody hard) behind Simon I was feeling much stronger at this point than when solo on Tuesday, my memory is a little unclear but I think we both communicated that it was now time to go full gas for the finish. At this point I was really enjoying the team effort we’d put in, the buzz helped to take a fraction of the sting out the legs as we came around the final section and saw the finish line in sight. I was completely turning myself inside out at this point as Simon came up on my right so we could cross the line together, as we crossed the line I hit the stop button, 21:26, first emotion was I’ll take that so pretty happy. We had a few private words about the race but all in all I think we’d both enjoyed it, it was then all about getting back to HQ and seeing how we’d done.

Looking back over the data at the last 2 miles I’d put out 296W, meaning we had averaged  28.9mph for that section which was 3mph quicker than I did solo, proving that we had worked well as we were able keep pushing to the line rather than fading. The last mile we both did 293W, which again shows the joint effort that had gone in to achieving the time we did.

Back at HQ we looked at the laptop to see the times coming in, I think at this point we were in 4th, Joel and Xavi who had a practice run in the week were in 2nd with a 20:39. The other AMAC team of Bishop and Moore pipped us by 1s doing a 21:26 to our amended 21:27. Roughly 20 minutes later all the times were in, we’d ended up in 8th (as a I predicted..) the winners doing a 20:14. It would have been nice to get that 7th, but all in all a great effort between the both of us. Like ourselves most pairings all seemed to have a story that cost them a few seconds but that’s time trialling for you I guess.

A big thanks to the organisers and helpers from B&DCC, any chance of another one before the season ends?

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