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.