I went back over the r25/3L today. i’d love to say i went there because of the scenic and glorious Welsh countryside which called to the very depths of my vaguely Welsh soul through the medium of a language with few vowels and the delights of Welsh cakes, but it would be lies. I went there because it’s a super quick course on the right day. I really thought today would be the right day. The weather seemed more benign than three weeks ago and it was warmer. I felt the curious feeling of being en forme again this week and had been riding well. I have also been adopting a pacing strategy in the aim of replicating a ‘riding to power’ approach, thus saving energy for the end and not losing time in the wrong bit of the course.
The event was organised by the RAF Cycling Association as an inter-services championship, with some slots left over for their ‘civilian friends’. As a relatively quick civilian I made the line-up. There were military-issue skinsuits all over the place. Unfortunately they weren’t racing in camouflage, but it was exciting to see the continuing popularity of cycling in the Armed Forces.
I sacrificed two further items to the weather gods. Firstly i left my brand new lezyne track pump in the road when i left the house. It is a magical pump, it can pump up disc wheels with no effort and could probably blow up the Goodyear Blimp if needed. It wasn’t there when i got back. I also lost a pair of full-finger gloves: they were making the sleeves on my skinsuit ride up and catch the wind in the open cuffs, so i threw them into a layby on the Glyn-Neath Bank as a latterday equivalent of the battersea shield, but it appears to have had no effect. The weather forecast is on the terrorbox as I type and it gives more of the same, sultry, frustrating shit from the sky, custom made to frustrate cyclists and induce despair and nihilism. I am reduced to shouting at the weatherman. it’s quite embarrassing. No-one is in the house though, so it didn’t really happen. It can be our little secret – me and my 3 readers.
I scraped a 52.46, which isn’t that shabby, but is 26 seconds slower than the other week and a full 31 seconds off my PB. I’m disappointed because i allowed myself to think that i might turn in a 51 today. My “pacing” strategy was a bit of a clusterfuck, i contrived to hemorrhage 26 seconds from the start to the first roundabout – in comparison to three weeks ago in similar conditions. Oh well, that’s time trialling. Good days are hard to find and the weather in the early season is a capricious, nasty old bag. Times across the board were slow and I have to have faith that i haven’t become slow all of a sudden. On the interminable and woeful drag back into the headwind i resorted to turning my computer screen off so i couldn’t see just how slowly i was going and watch my time slip away.
I have a couple of other appointments with this peculiar strip of tarmac in the Welsh Valleys. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day there will be a float day and i will dial in a 51 minute 25 mile time trial. In the meantime, there’s a hatful of rain due tomorrow and this week. Happy days.