So firstly the Time Trial. As I said in my last post I was quietly excited by this 25 mile TT but I don’t know why I should be seeing as my one and only other TT was the Kilton 10 (8.75 miles) and it nearly killed me. Thinking back to the Kilton effort I think I went off too fast and was suffering far too early into the TT so by the half way point where the real work began on the uphill part I was already too far gone. This time I planned to ride this 25 mile effort differently, I had a plan and that plan was to steadily ramp up my effort into my correct HR zone.
So to the start in a little village called Goostry near to the Jodrell Bank Observatory. I bumped into some of the guys from my club the North Cheshire Clarion; we chatted for a while then finally got on our bikes for a warm up in the last half hour before our start times by riding up and down some of the country lanes near the start point. My start time was 3.24 pm and getting into line at the start point early I noticed I had no minute man. No number 83 (So that makes me No 84) he didn’t turn up. Not that I was expecting to catch my minute man but it would have been nice to have a target within sight and the opportunity to do so.
So time to await the count-down. Behind me down the line in 90th position dressed ominously in the black of Rapha Condor Sharp was a professional cyclist called Matt Cronshaw, I was the donkey and he was the thoroughbred and I fully expected to be passed very quickly by this guy.
The Time Trial.
At the start point in the queue awaiting my turn, a guy 3 minutes in front of me was on his countdown when a pheasant came out of the hedgerow and limped across the road a few yards in front of him. (eerily similar to that scene from the film ‘Galaxy Quest’ where the cute little creature with the injured foot limped out into the open and everyone’s going awwww). He gets the shove off all the time pointing his finger at the poor creature threatening to eat it if it got in his way; it didn’t, it was startled and quickly limped off into the opposing hedgerow, the episode was slightly funny though.
So a few minutes later it’s my turn to be shoved off. I’m on my countdown, 15 seconds, 10, 5 - 4 - 3- 2 -1 – GO! And with a shove I was off, I wanted a slow ramp up to my desired HR range however I got into that zone within a minute of the start, I planned for it to take a little longer but you know what it’s like, it’s a race and the adrenaline is pumping and you feel that you need to get up to speed a.s.a.p., besides; I didn’t want to make it too easy for those behind me to catch me.
Soon though they did start to catch me, my minute man came passed me within 10 minutes and then on 22 minutes Matt Cronshaw came trundling passed like I was standing still and that became the pattern for the duration of the next hour as rider after rider overtook me, I must have had at least 6 riders do so if not more - I lost count…
The ride itself for me was tough in places and fantastic in others. Sometimes I was down on my clip-ons cruising along seemingly effortless at 25 mph and then turn a corner into a headwind and down to 17 mph. There were only a couple of hills, not major ones but enough to slow me down to 16 mph (ish). At one time on my first lap I was cruising along only to see a herd of cows crossing the road in front of me forcing me to slow down and nearly stop before Mr Farmer saw me, ran out into the road blocking his cows and allowing me through - thank you Mr farmer. I lost seconds there as I did in other places notably roundabouts and corners where I displayed caution navigating around the traffic and through corners also being polite thanking the stewards as I passed whereas others just barrelled through with little to no caution whatsoever.
The time passed slowly for the first 18 miles but then the realisation that there was only 7 more miles to go spurred me on and renewed my determination for the rest of the race but it’s at this point that I heard a knocking noise from my bottom bracket area and looking down I could see that my pump had slid down it’s holder (again argh) and was now catching the pedal on every revolution, very annoying but I didn’t stop and if it wore a hole in the pump so be it. Ahead of me I see a rider, I’m catching him and I’m chuffed as this will be my first overtake. I’m coming alongside ready to say ‘DIG IN” when I notice no race numbers on him - bummer it’s just a cyclist out on his own ride. I overtake him with a good afternoon and he then speeds up and tucks in behind me, sheesh some people, I’m the one supposedly racing here and he’s not so what do I do? Do I speed up to show him not to mess with the big boys or just carry on? I decided to just carry on at my own pace and he hung in there for 5 minutes until we hit a hill and I left him forever - yay go me, I dropped him on the hill…
I’m coming to 25 miles now and I forgot this TT lark is a low key thing with no grandiose finish line with a chequered flag and clapping entourage. So I’m looking at my Garmin and it’s reading 25.1 miles, wondering if I had missed the finish when I spy a car in a lay-by with an older gentleman and younger lady peering at me and there it is, a white line just visible in the road. Done, all over, finished. I lap my Garmin and very slowly ride back to the club house a mile and half away back into Goostry.
The target for my age was 1:10:04 whereas my actual official time was 1:15:36, I was over 5 minutes down but I am still pleased with myself, this was my first 25 mile TT, I didn’t bonk, I rode within my limits, I rode roughly to my plan, I managed to finish and I earned myself a club bronze award, what’s not to be happy about!
Now I’m writing this account 2 days on from the event and in hindsight I think I could have ridden harder, I fully expected to be absolutely knackered that night and over the next day but I wasn’t, my legs were fine so I feel I could have put more effort into it but at the very least I have learnt lots and know the next time that I need to ride harder - all room for improvement...
1hr 15min 36seconds, Av speed 19.84 mph, 588 ft climbing, Av/Max hr 166/171 (max 191)
The rest of the clan all did well but ignore Anthony M's time he managed to get lost, the poor lad...
Sundays Club Ride
I wasn’t expecting to go out as I had a daughter to pick up from the Airport in the early afternoon and I thought Mrs Mark would take umbridge at me going out for both days of our weekend, however when she said for me to make sure I was home in time for the pick up I said yes dear and the ride was now a goer. As I have already said my legs felt fine after the previous days TT so meeting up with 9 others at Stretton we set off in a clockwise flat loop of 40 miles. For the first few miles I was on the front with Antnee but with our talking about the previous days events we didn’t realise we were riding at around 20 mph – so glad it was flat. We did slow down a little but everyone seemed happy with the speed including a new face who took it all in his stride and so we continued at a reasonably high pace for the rest of the ride. As I said it was flat there was little wind and the sun was out, a very nice day.
A stop off at a garden centre we’ve been to a few times and then onwards homewards through the lanes of Cheshire including walking the bikes over a narrow walkway over a stream and through a park of some sort near Warrington before arriving back at Stretton. A good slightly brisk ride on a warm sunny day, very nice indeed.
Photo's from the weekend rides here
40.64 miles, 2 hrs 25 min, Av speed 16.8 993 ft climbing Av/max hr 138/165 bpm (max 191)