25 Mile Time Trials (and how to ride them)

Last night was the club 25 mile championship:  “the event began in 1922 and the Brian Weatherley Bowl was first awarded in 1950. The bowl commemorates Brian Weatherley who joined the club in 1947 (age 16) and died in 1949 after a short illness from polio. ”

it was breezy, as per usual, the entirety of May has been breezy, and yet this morning appears calm and floatilicious. the race consisted of three laps of the chew valley lake circuit – a tough and technical course where under the hour is a very good time. there is nearly 800 feet of climbing in total.

my considered wisdom based on the limited number of 25s i’ve ridden, is that the trick is to go off slower than you think. when going by perceived exertion (i.e how good or bad you feel) or by heartrate it’s difficult to know whether you are overcooking until later in the race. keep on top of the cadence and slowly, over miles rather than metres, work up to a rhythm and pace that seems comfortable. i was holding around 85-88% of max heartrate, with some fluctuations on the climbs. i also held off on the climbs, sat back and spun up, rather than the usual hell-for-leather out-of-the-saddle pursuit of glory. the first lap time told me I was quick, 18 seconds off my PB, so i sat back a bit more to try and rein in the impulse to go too fast. it was all about managing the effort; the last third of a race is where things can come completely unseamed, but this is invariably caused by the effort on the 1st third. as it was, i felt ok, and pushed through the last lap of 8.3 miles, cranking up into the max, my breathing noticeably more ragged and the lactic build-up starting to make itself felt. however, i coped far better with the lactic than i did at the weekend, because i’d dosed the effort much better. in fact, i think i knew far more precisely how to leave everything on the road. the last lap was slower, despite feeling quicker… i managed a 19.30, 19.40 and a 19.47, with the average speed dropping by 0.1mph per lap. this is within the realm of tolerance. i may have had some fatigue hanging over from the weekend and yesterday’s hill reps – i’m currently working back into a bigger block of training again.

my time of 59.04 was enough to take the trophy ahead of andy legge, who was just over the hour. it’s a pretty sporting and technical course, i took one corner a bit wide and nearly hit a car – i have to say i’ve never skidded the back end of a TT bike before and it was very exciting. i gave a cheery wave and a garbled ‘sorry can’t stop’ before resuming pedaling. i took the corner much slower and tighter on the following two laps.

I’ve included Heart rate and elevation on the graph below, you can see that HR is fairly consistent, and elevates slightly on the last lap. i’m getting there. holding off for longer from the start might be the main target.

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