Sometimes a degree of masochism and a little bit of HTFU can go a long way. In general, this recipe works well for Time Trials where you need to try really hard and see just how far you can push it before your lungs and legs complain angrily and you come to a shuddering halt.

Today i attempted the Little Mountain Time Trial. I took the road bike because i thought the weather would be so ridiculous that it was probably the best bet for a safe ride. As i’m sure you’re aware if you made the epic schlep to the paper shop today, or even if you haven’t and simply opened the curtains to regard the raging apocalypse outside, you’ll know it wasn’t the best day to be out on a bike. 

The course was 39 miles long with a lot of climbing and two timed hillclimbs. I lasted 17 miles. During those 17 miles i was passed, at speed, by a fellow competitor after about 3 miles. He was my TWO minute man. I didn’t think i was going that slowly, but there you have it, TT vs Road bike, TT bike always wins. it was the flat section of the course. I reined him in a bit on a long hill but after that he vanished. this knocked my confidence.

Prior to riding i chose my gear really carefully. it’s the first time i’ve ever raced in a rain jacket and full tights. I was set to wear my neoprene endura overshoes, when i switched them for my altura ergofit waterproof ones instead. If you’ve read this blog you’ll know i don’t rate these. However, i reasoned that that with winter tights they would seal around the ankle, and the waterproofing would be the better bet. they did seal around the ankle, but the amount of water that got in elsewhere was staggering. These overshoes are completely ineffectual, avoid them at all costs. you are better off using reams of duct tape and a couple of tesco carrier bags. I am going to write a shitty, boring email to altura. The simple result was that after 6 miles my feet were absolutely frozen. In every other way i was fine. Well, nearly. I couldn’t get my heartrate up for toffee and was middling around at about 80% of max, and it was falling. My average speed was 20mph, which wasn’t appalling, but it was the quicker bit of the parcours.

The headwind was what made the decision for me. When riding into the headwind my speed crashed through the floor. At one point i was doing 12mph on the flat. i lost the will to ride and sat up. The route goes back past the HQ at about 17 miles, and knowing this gave me the option to climb off. With a further 23 miles to go and no feeling in my toes at all i stopped, got changed and left straight away.

I felt sorry for Ruth, the event organiser, having put on such an astounding event and then to be faced with a huge number of DNS and DNF. There is some unfinished business with this race and me, it was a target for this year on the TT weapon. It will have to wait. On the Chippenham Scale i’d have to rate this one at a 10, considering I failed to make it round. 

The weather has led to a wave of cancellations in other races, with good reason. The standing water on the course was certainly quite impressive. It’s been a ridiculously wet April and I feel that just as i was getting going my training and racing has been walloped by the elements. It’s a bit depressing, in truth. I just want a warm day and not much wind and want to ride my bike fast, unimpeded by endless rain and wind. Fingers crossed that by next weekend it might have marginally improved. hopefully i won’t get the cursed number – every time i’ve had a 13 in a race (twice), bad shit has happened.

Lastly, congratulations to Alec Baskaya who took the honours in the Reading Road Race this weekend, a brilliant result. We were chatting yesterday at the Bath 10 about how he is finding the power adjustment to road racing a bit tricky, or something like that. By all accounts he time trialled his way off the front of the bunch and won by minutes.

testing times

this weekend i did my first ever time trial, at quite a ripe age, but never mind. it was quite a reality check, there were also some seriously pornographic bicycles on show. anyway, the story runs thus…

ever the non-car-driver, i opted to ride to the start, thinking it was about 17 miles, turned out to be nearer 22. tried to keep the powder dry, just about managed it. the sign on was in a classic village hall setting, and the weather was good, in fact, it felt almost balmy. a few other club riders were in attendance, but steve was running late and had to sprint the two miles back from the HQ to the start – a good warmup i suppose. i was off a bit later, so took my time; pinned the race number on – 29. on the ride to the start one thing become utterly clear, the 5 miles back from the turn (out and back course) would be fought against an unpleasant headwind. after a nervous few minutes, the pusher held the seatpost, the starter counted down and i was off… like a greyhound out of the traps, a scolded cat – despite telling myself I wouldn’t. i thought i could see my minuteman, and felt i was gaining, but he seemed to remain about 25 seconds ahead, despite me going around 27mph. he then turned off into the HQ when we went past, and i realised he was just warming down. i was then passed by someone going at high speed, the disc wheel roaring like a jet turbine, pure souplesse. he later came second.

from the turn at the roundabout i hung on in, but my speed kept dropping and dropping, first 24mph, then 23, and i ended up switching between sprockets, unable to find a rhythm, chewing stem. clawed my way to the end, with the result being 17th place, out of 50 starters. which is ok, no great shakes, but certainly leaves me room to manoeuvre and a time to aim for – namely getting under 24 mins for evens. the rock cakes afterwards were amazing. and i won my class – which was the novices, taking home a tenner in a plain envelope.

i was due to ride the chippenham hardriders today, but opted out – so another first, this time a DNS. i went to the track and tore around for a while. and did the club run this morning. i think tomorrow needs to be a rest day.

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