At the beginning of the season (well the end of last season actually) I looked at what I wanted to achieve, there were numerous targets but the main goal was to do a “19”, a 19 meaning that I needed to exceed 30mph average for a 10 mile time trial, the most likely course for me to achieve that is the V718 in South Cave near Hull. It’s possible I could achieve it on the O10/3 near Ranby in Hull but that would really need all the stars to align so the focus has been on the V718, on Sunday I was entered in the Team Swift event, starting at 3:11 in what looked like fair conditions. The forecast was around 20c and light winds, 3 out 4 previous attempts here I’ve faced a speed killing westerly wind, the other time I was recovering from illness, but having achieved a 20:14 then a 20:19 in much tougher conditions I’ve felt confident that I could achieve my target.
Due to the scale of Sundays event the normal HQ was dispensed with but I found the new one OK, pulled into the car park, had a quick chat with Neil Parkin and then set about getting myself ready. There had been a chance of rain around 3pm and sure enough as I wriggled into my skin suit a few black clouds were forming, but thankfully as I began my warm up these dissipated and my warm up was unaffected. I was feeling pretty good but not so good that I should have been sat at the start line with nearly 15 minutes to go, I could have panicked but it was what it was, I just kept calm and kept my mind on the job. There was some good news though, my team jersey I thought had been lost was actually still in the time keepers car from 3 weeks ago, so far so good.
Having seen team mate George Evans set off like Wiggins did when he raced here last year I decided that my launch from the line should be a little more spirited so when the starter released me I gave it some welly before getting in positon and entering the dual carriageway. On my momentary glances at my Garmin I was still well above race pace, 328W for the first mile, so about 28W more than perhaps I should have been, especially with a light tailwind behind, it crossed my mind I’d probably pay for it later, time would tell.
Unlike most Saturday events I have done on here, the traffic, in particular larger vehicles (lorries, buses etc) seem to be absent, in fact I only remember 1 bus coming past me on the run for the turn, speed wise this probably didn’t help but concentration wise I think I felt more focused than ever, the power was there, I was feeling good, the speed was evident, so far so good, next challenge was the turn.
As I turned off the DC, I gave it the beans up the off ramp, with some great marshalling I proceeded without any bother around the first roundabout, (remaining in positon, pedalling hard) and then as I negotiated the last bit I pushed hard down the on ramp, one thing struck me as I did, there was a headwind, not that strong, but noticeable. The mission now having averaged 31.1mph for the first 4.5 miles, could I hang on for the remaining 5.5 and keep it above 30?
One of the most challenging parts of the course is the strava segment “Welton to South Cave”, this incorporates a slightly uphill section that requires some extra grunt to maintain close to race speed, my issue here was that although my legs were turning the pedals I was starting to feel the effects of that first mile. My average speed was dropping, but not dropping like a stone, I remember looking at my Garmin at 8 miles and seeing 30.7 or 30.6mph average, I knew that if I could keep it above 30 with 1 mile to go then unless I blew up or had a mechanical I’d get my 19, I needed no more motivation so I gritted my teeth and pushed on.
My power at this point was getting lower and fluctuating between enthusiastic and near death, but I still had the confidence that the job was almost done especially when I spotted the time keepers car up ahead. With a few more torturous turns of the pedals I crossed the line, 19 minutes and 46 seconds after I’d started. 30.35mph, mission accomplished.
V718 Strava times
Last mile (power meter dropped out for about 14 seconds on this race)
Back to HQ
Getting back to the car is normally an easy thing to do but I lost my bearings again and had to get advice from rider number 73, back down the A63 apparently so off we went. On the ride back I had time to think about things and what I had achieved, I have to say I wasn’t as thrilled as I thought I might have been. Thinking about it now, I recall Andy Murray saying about winning his gold medal for the first time, the emotion was more of relief and he’d not quite taken the time to enjoy it, relief mirrored my own emotion and still does 2 days later.
There was no fanfare back at the car (why would there be), in fact unlike most other events I didn’t speak to anyone, I just got changed and drove home. But let’s be honest here, I’ve not broken any world records, it was a good personal achievement, I’d set out this goal nearly 12 months ago, I’ve worked pretty hard (for the most part) to achieve it and got it done in my last big race of the season. Yeah, it’s still relief but at this point I think it’s right to thank my coach Dan Barnett.
I must be the worst pupil ever, I miss sessions, I fail sessions but in between that I do what I can with the time I have. This is where the coaching comes in, the fact is it’s been really effective, with the hours I do I would not have done a 19:46 and I wouldn’t have improved my course PB’s in the way I have so cheers mate. Before being coached, my 10 mile TT power was around 270-275W, 6 months later I was around 285 and now a year on its solidly at 295W, that’s a solid progression given my haphazard training.
Training time over last few weeks
Results – Official Results
I’d only just scraped in to this event with my previous PB of 20:14, so I hadn’t expected to come half way, tied 48th out of 109 so that was pretty pleasing, knowing I’d gone faster than a lot of other riders who were previously quicker than myself.
Massive thanks to Team Swift for putting on a huge event, lots of money raised for charity too.
So what’s next…
In terms of time trialling, apart from a club event this week that’s it, the TT bike will be going in the loft until 2017. Hill climbs are next on the agenda but that’ll mean finding some motivation, will have to see how that plays out over the next few weeks.