Flying then crawling – A windy V718

Since my last race on the fabled V718 course I’d been wanting to tick off my season goal of doing a 19 (30mph average), last time I’d done a 20:14, on that day I was about 20W down due to recovering from illness so I know there’s a 19 in there. After initially worrying about rain and a misted up visor again, it was the westerly wind that would be the challenge. My training with Dan has been going well so it was just time to put it down on the tarmac. I arrived to the HQ pretty early, the car park felt quite calm in terms of wind but looking at the tree tops there was a wind blowing, but it felt warm and the rain was nowhere to be seen, two out of three aint bad I suppose.

The event was being promoted by Scott Burns through Team Jayden, if you have time take a look at their website and the good work they are doing for womens cycling: , upon sign on I got some free bike cleaner and also bought a raffle ticket to win some very nice looking ADR bars, (sadly number 48 was not a winner). Having got kitted up I began my warm up, with my new chain on from things felt smooth, my Canyon Speedmax now sounding like a bike rather than a knackered old tractor as I made my way down the dual carriageway to the start. Despite racing here 3 times before I got to the start about 15 minutes before I needed to and with strict instructions not to pass the start line and warm up in South Cave I basically spent the next 5-10 minutes chatting with a fellow rider (whose name escapes me) before arriving at the start line, not ideal but as it was warm the error wasn’t as bad, lesson learned for next time.

Go time

Keen to find those extra few seconds that would help me nail that 19 I started off quickly then settled in for the run to the turn. After pushing hard with the tailwind for comfort I rocketed to the turn in 31.5mph, this was my pre-race plan, however, on the day with the extra wind I was hoping to have a bit more in hand to achieve an overall average just north of 30mph. As I exited the off ramp I pushed really hard, kept in position most of the way around the turn then gave it the beans down the on ramp into the now strong headwind.

Picture from Craig Zad


Power wise things were good and despite the average speed dropping, I was really happy with what I was doing. The wind was like having a parachute on, I was doing 10-15% over race pace in parts and the speed was just laughing back at me. All I could do was keep smashing it up and do my best.

Training has been going well, I’ve been consistent and today it was showing, last time out I was recovering from illness and did 270W overall for a 20:14 (in good conditions), today my power was just above 295W as I began turning up the wick to try and keep that average speed above 30mph. But as the miles ticked down the 19 was getting out of reach, the power increased to 298W average but the headwind was obliterating my speed which was now about 29.6mph.

The last mile and half is quicker than the 2 that preceded it so I knew I’d lift that speed a bit if I could maintain my power, I just about managed to do this but despite dying a bit in the final few metres I crossed the line with nothing left in the legs, happy with how I’d done my race.

Comparison of last 5 miles, my previous best time was set when there was no wind, I went nearly 40 seconds quicker for 23 watts less! (naturally I would have gained time on the out leg)

Last 5 miles Team Jayden


Initially I thought I’d done 20:39 which wouldn’t have been a disaster, but after changing and going inside the HQ the time keeper put 20:19 up which had me checking my Garmin, 20:18 it said on there so I was happy with that given the strong headwind, particularly as I’d done a power PB too (296W, 6W added, roughly 302W for the return leg), I really could have done no more today, I’d paced it well and despite the strong headwind I’d got a time only 5s outside my previous best, on a half decent day that 19 will be nailed. 20:19 equates to 29.53mph.

Results –

So how did I do? The cut off time for this event was about 20:30 (I’d just scraped in) so it’s no surprise that the field was a really strong one,  47th from 83 (mens) starters was a decent result, personal pride means being pleased with 47th is not something I’m comfortable with but satisfied (for now) is probably the emotion best suited to that placing. I would have expected to have been 60-65th so again not bad.

I’m pretty certain that there would have been a lot more than 47 riders with better PB’s than myself in that race so today given my previous PB I’d outperformed, when I think about it like that then it’s not too bad a day, especially when the field had domestic pro’s and riders with far more experience than myself. It’s good to measure where you are at though, I’m way down the pecking order but improving and that’s the important bit.

Massive thanks to Scott and all the team, I hope the promotion spreads the message a bit more and you have every success going forward.



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