Saturday was incredibly hot, the perfect day for lazing around, getting out the barbecue or drinking a few ice-cold beers in the park. or alternatively, seeing just how much perspiration you can generate by racing for ten miles up and down the a38. unsurprisingly i chose the latter; it being the club open raised the stakes a little. the u7b and the 25 mile variant is not my favourite course; apparently it’s known as the ‘graveyard’ although this might be just hearsay. it’s an undulating main road course, with just enough ascending (not much in the scheme of things) to sap your legs and force you to think about gearing down, fighting to maintain speed.
it had been a pretty hardcore week – about 170 miles, with one rest day midweek, so although i didn’t expect much i had been feeling pretty good in training. i managed to really have a proper go at belmont; once on fixed, once geared, both times in under 4 minutes; considerably faster than anything last year, or ever for me personally. 3.48 on the gears. All of which gave me some cautious grounds for optimism. as it happened, i woke up feeling quite sprightly, spend the morning annotating my red TT frame with a sharpie and some pretentious quotes from f.scott fitzgerald, then waited for belle, who was team car for the day.
having gone fairly well at yeovil and still not placed that highly, i decided to throw caution to the wind and really dig deep. i tried not to change down and also consciously picked up the pace – concentrating on avoiding those fallow periods mid-race where everything slips; and trying to get into what felt like a relentless, and remorseless rhythm. for the first time i flew past someone else at ridiculous speed; then the icing on the cake – i caught my minuteman; who not only had his name written on the toptube, but also was on a ‘1’ seeding, so ostensibly, a quick man.
on a day of slow times, i managed 22.37, a PB, and good enough for 7th place – a majorly pleasing result for me, having never got higher than 16th in flattish courses this year. i am beginning to think that i might be able to get under 22 minutes on a flat and fast course this year. that would be totally ridiculous. i like my bike though, it has been quite an instructive first TT build. it is no longer the assripping leg-killer of yore; a few tweaks and the constant fear of emasculation seems to have disappeared.