It sounds slightly more glamourous than it actually was. Today I trekked to Wales for their 25 mile championship event. In truth, it wasn’t that different to any other event on the R25, it’s a course that attracts the strongest, fastest and scariest riders in the principality, and from over the border.
It was my first run at the Glynneath bank this year. I try to head over there a few times a year because there is always the tantalising promise of at least a personal best, and possibly a 30mph ride. For a slower rider like me it’s subject to the vagaries and whims of the weather, and especially the wind direction. Today wasn’t too bad, a headwind out and tailwind back is the preferred option. It was a bit too windy so I bore this in mind and moderated my ambitions. I wanted to beat my old PB and come in under 52 minutes. If i got close to 50 minutes then that would be a bonus. I was riding blind, entirely on feel. I couldn’t find my garmin this morning. I used my wristwatch instead to get a sense of where I was. This ended up being a little bit confusing, i kept thinking i was off on a 10, when I was a 1, which skewed my calculations. I realised eventually. I also recognised belatedly that i shouldn’t go by the ‘real time’, because my watch is set to ‘work time’, which is very different to ‘garmin time’. I turned it off after about 15 miles.
There were some luminaries on the startline, including Andy Wilkinson. 25 miles is a bit on the short side for Andy who has ridden 547 miles in 24 hours and done the End to End on a recumbent thingy in 41 hours. He also managed a paltry 317 miles for the 12 hour. That’s 20mph for 875 miles, 23mph for 24 hours and a ridiculous 26.5mph for 12 hours. He proved today that he can also ride 25 miles at 31mph. He is unquestionably one of the legendary figures of time trialling in the UK.
I felt quite good, held a reasonable speed going out and chased it hard coming back. I managed a 51.36, which is a minute or so down on my best time, but still works out at a 29mph ride. I think there is a 30mph ride in there somewhere, but I’m more reliant on the conditions than some of the other super strong men. Jeff Jones won the race with a mid 48, with Wilkinson second. I’m not sure what position i managed; perhaps grazing the outside of the top ten.
It was nice to be racing in vaguely mild temperatures, without knee warmers or arm warmers. I used my new disc wheel which i got second hand from Mike at Strada. It came with some interesting new decals so I left these on. The bearings on the new wheel are smoother than the proverbial codpiece made of cashmere and it was a psychosomatic dream.
Allen Janes came along for the day out and did a bit of riding around Rhigos whilst me and Danny got to grips with the fast tarmac. We talked racing and club things on the journey over and Allen came up with some startling statistics: he has ridden over 1300 open time trials. This includes nearly 800 25 mile races. He has calculated that his average speed for the 800 is 24 miles per hour.
It’s always grand to catch up with Allen.