The last few weeks have not been too positive, after getting an illness that kept me off the bike for 5 days I’ve really lost my enthusiasm for training and despite a lot input from my coach I have struggled to get anywhere close to nailing the sessions I’ve been set. But on Saturday I felt that racing might be the boost that I needed so off I headed to Hatfield Woodhouse for the Tickhill Velo promoted 10 mile TT on the O10/1.
Trouble was that even loading the car up I was struggling for motivation, normally I spend this time thinking about the race, what I’m going to attempt to do and what goals I want to accomplish on the day, today though I just couldn’t get fired up. “30 minute delay between Junction 32 & 33”, would normally evoke emotions of anger, but to be honest it would actually not be a bad thing today, it would give me a way out. It was at this point I decided to get my head in gear, I knew once I’d pulled on the skin suit and stuck a number on I’d be ok and 30 minutes before my start time that’s exactly what happened. I guess it’s a bit like how Superman or Batman feels, normal guy one minute, the next moment, transformed. OK that might be pushing it a bit……..
After my usual, detailed and highly effective warm up of 14 minutes riding around making sure my legs and bike work I nipped back to the car for a final drink and pulled up at the start line ready and raring to go. It was a warm day, but the wind was really blowing, oddly though I was struggling to see where it was coming from so I’d have to react to that once I set off. At 14:35 off I went. I’d feared that the missed training and illness might dampen my legs but I decided to risk going at my normal pace, nothing ventured nothing gained. The O10/1 course “or rumble strip” as it’s now being called is a classic out and back course, the only real challenge (apart from the obvious) are 2 sections of road (loose term) that are really rutted and bumpy. On the out leg this section of road had me swearing loudly and thinking I’m never coming back here again (it’s not that bad). I’d chosen a line, a bad line that had me rocking and rolling all over but once cleared I found my legs doing what they’d been doing recently, working well.
I think I’ve raced this course 5 times before, solo and as part of a 2up and at the turn I’ve generally (apart from a bit of cramp) never really been held up, on Saturday I guess it was my time to have a bit of bad luck. Approaching the turn there were 5 or 6 cars queuing which meant I really had to kill the speed, I took the opportunity to take a few deep breaths and mini recovery before launching myself out of the roundabout to head back from where I’d came. Analysis after the race seemed to show I’d lost about 3-4 seconds to the field, nothing really so although frustrated at the time, it didn’t make any difference to my placing.
My previous course PB here was 22:18, set August last year on a blisteringly hot day, the conditions today were not quite as good but as I made my way back my pace was strong, certainly under the 22:18 mark. I’d hit the turn at 28.5 mph and on target power, I felt I’d be slower on the return but under 22 minutes barring incident looked nailed on, that was pretty much the target for the day. I expected the conditions to be harder on the way back and although they were it felt pretty fair, you didn’t feel like you were battling them, that just left the focus on the pedals and going as quick as I could.
Rumble strip part 2
Crossing the rough section on the way home required some concentration, I made sure I missed anything that might try to cremate my front wheel and then looked down at the distance to go and figured it was time to give it all I’d got. I knew I was on for a course PB, but I also knew that I was on for the sub 22 minute time and that gave me all the focus I needed. As I crossed the line and stopped the Garmin 21:46 flashed up, a great time for myself on the day especially given my negative outlook earlier, maybe I was Batman after all, well perhaps more Robin with a (slightly) less camp outfit.
Once changed I headed into HQ and kept my eye on the results board, I seemed to have gone OK, early on there were only a couple of riders ahead of me, the final results had me finishing in 9th with a 21:49 (a 29s course PB), although I think this should be 10th as someone was given an incorrect time. Special mention here goes to Neal Parkin, who on his new Giant Trinity bike had smashed his course PB by about 2 minutes to come in 3rd with 21:09, well done mate, nice prize money too.
Well done to Simon Beldon from the SSLL racing team who left it late to claim the win by 2s!
Simon Beldon (pic courtesy of John Robert Photography)
Neal Parkin (pic courtesy of John Robert Photography)
Along with my teammate Andy Cutts there was some more good news, we’d scooped the team prize, £22.50 each, another 30 of those and I’ll get myself a disc wheel!
The drive home was a happier affair, my recovery meal of a large sausage roll and a chocolate milkshake providing me with virtually none of the nutrients I needed to replenish myself but tasting pretty good. I also had time to reflect on a good time and how to keep myself motivated with my attempt to get that 19 on the V718 in 2 weeks’ time. I just need to hold it together for 2 weeks!
Thanks to Tickhill for a well ran event, all the best for your future promotions.