Club 10 last night, much more low key and relaxed than Open events but no less enjoyable and a good opportunity to hone your skills and keep the racing legs sharp. Quite a decent turnout too for the B&DCC run event on the O10/5 course in Cuckney. Matlock is closer but I class this as my home course and it’s a good one too, a single carriageway on lightly rolling terrain, a downhill start and a short sharp climb near the turn. The scenery (not that you look at it) is a marked departure from the lightening quick dual carriageway courses but I suppose being slower you do get more for you £3 entry fee.
A few weeks ago I lowered my course PB from 22:25 to 21:58, 27 seconds is a big jump, the aim is to get to 21:30, it’s a big ask to drop another 28s but I thought last night I could get closer to it. Lots of familiar faces, my team mate Simon Travell, the AMAC boys Xavi, Joel and Bish along with the likely winner of the evening, Mapperley’s Ian Guilor who is having a great season. Great to have some quick lads racing and also good that the weather was nice too, warm, not much wind, not the perfect conditions but nothing that would hinder any of us.
Having commenced a brief warm up with Simon I pulled up at the start with a couple of minutes to go and at 19:12 I was blasting off down the hill. It didn’t feel as fast as normal and for the first mile it was the normal balancing act of getting up to speed but not blowing a gasket. Last time out I’d reached the turn (5.5 miles) with an average speed of 28.5mph, tonight I thought I might be a bit slower as the wind wasn’t quite the same, but that would mean whatever speed I made it there in, I wouldn’t lose as much coming home. My focus tonight was on power, I aimed for 300W and as I approached the sharp incline just before turn, power was 297W, average speed of 28.1mph, pretty much bang on.
Rounding the turn with no incident I accelerated hard to bring myself back up to speed, dropped down the short decline and then got in my best position and headed for home. I felt my power was a bit erratic on the way home, naturally I was tiring but I would have liked to have been smoother, something to work on for the future.
A few brief glances down at my Garmin showed I was on target to beat my PB, no more motivation was needed to keep pressing on the pedals and due to the fact I averaged 27.5mph for 288W on the way back meant the finish line came into view slightly earlier than expected. Normally I would have attempted my final push slightly earlier, however who’s to say that would have been more effective. Having aimed to get over 27.3mph average last time out, my Garmin was solidly at 27.7mph as I crossed the line in a time of 21:42, 16 seconds quicker than last time, a really pleasing result, leaving me “only” another 12 seconds to find.
I was pretty exhausted as I spun the bike around and headed back to the car, removing my helmet offered some cooling, as did my mars milkshake, after changing I wandered over to the laptop to see how my time stacked up, ok as it happened. Ian Guilor taking the win in 20:54, Xavi in 2nd with 21:27 and then myself and Joel separated by a 1s, 1 bloody second with him having the advantage to put me down in 4th. Andy Bishop (insert link from his business) competing on a normal road bike did a superb time of 22:12, no doubt he’ll be flying once his new TT bike is built up.
Some comparisons from last night, Ian Guilor doesn’t use Strava so just me, Xavi, Joel and Bish are shown below:
As you can see, at the turn there was virtually nothing in it between Xavi, Joel and myself, Bish clearly with a different strategy was 35 seconds down. Xavi managed to gain some advantage on the way back, Joel road pretty much the same race as me. He’d got a 4 second gap with a couple of miles to go, I narrowed that to 1 at the line. Bish on his road bike only lost a handful of seconds to Xavi on the way back, he actually gained 5-6 seconds from me in the final mile alone, clearly he was finishing like a train.
As I began to get packed up for home I had a chat with a guy called Dan Paris, last night was his 3rd attempt at time trialling, he’s gone from over 30 minutes to 28 minutes 16s on a standard road bike setup. Having just bought a power meter he was enquiring about power to try and get some comparison, mentioning also that he’d now bought some tri bars and a different seat post, he’s caught the bug already.
Although relatively new to TT myself I always try to give as much encouragement to people as I can, since I’ve started there’s always been people like Dan, Andy Bishop, Bill, Simon and a host of others that’d have done the same for me so I try to do the same. People often see TT as for the serious cyclist, it’s certainly not, if you ride a bike, chances are you can do 10 miles (last night’s distance), you do a time, that’s your time to beat. Pushing hard hurts a bit, but it’s a great feeling, generally good fun and competitive as you want to make it.
The countdown is now on for Sunday 28th and the V718, Operation 19 is on track.