Redhill 18

23 Feb

Better late than never?

Last week was the Redhill 18, another of the early season sporting events that take place in the cold winter months. Last week went well with winning the Kingston Wheelers event, this week had a tougher field with the inclusion of a few handy riders. That said, there was only a couple I was thinking would really be tough to beat, Chris McNamara from Pedalheaven, not least as he’s a very strong roadman, which would aid him in not only being light, but also being able to man handle the bike over what is a course slightly more tricky to master in parts than your average TT course. And then Wouter from Sigma who in 2011 set the course record for this event with an average speed well over 27 mph, which is quite frankly staggering considering the course.

I got down there nice and early and it was pretty cold, greasy roads were the order of the day, again, and I was interested to see just how mucky some of the back lanes were. The upside to this course over the Kingston one for me is that it has a fair bit of dual carriageway at the end, and with a slight course diversion there was even more than normal, some 4 mile of DC, and one I know well as its also used to the KW club ten.

I was off towards the back-end of the field and quickly I was faced with Coast Hill which is only a couple of minutes in, not a big climb, but on a heavy TT bike a 2.5 min steep climb so soon is never pleasant. I got up and over without much issue but the first of a few hold ups took place shortly after, I’d caught my minute man already and a car was dithering with overtaking him, not ideal.

I managed to pass and got on towards the long drag up to Abinger Hammer, I felt pretty good and was going ok, I’d checked previous times to get an idea what sort of average speed I would need to do well here, and it seemed that an average around 26.5 mph would see me up there. With that in mind I had a target at least, I don’t like racing without knowing roughly what is decent/what is not, and with the course alteration it wasn’t like I could aim for a similar time to previous years as it was 0.6 miles longer.

My last outing on this course was 2 years ago and in fact my first outdoor ride on my TT bike, I came 5th behind winner Seb Ader, Connal Yates, Pete Tadros and Richard Prebble, these are all people I’ve since beaten in other events so I was confident that I had got stronger and more aero in those last two years to challenge for this event. As I was hurtling down towards Forrest Green a horse was visible in the distance, I backed off as I know how erratic they can be, the horse didn’t look too happy but I got by without issue, I think this particular rider was making a point of riding on the course despite there being countless other lanes around that would have been almost traffic free. Odd.

With about 5 miles to go I was on the last of the single track road before hitting the DC, I was approaching a KW rider who had predicted I’d catch him at 13 miles, it was indeed 13.4 miles when I saw him, sadly the same situation occurred and a truck was struggling to get round him so I was sat behind this truck for a short time. As soon as I got by it was just a case of buying myself on the DC to claw back what I had lost. I crossed the line in 42.36 which was just under 26.5 mph, not terrible I thought, but might be touch and go. Anyway, all was revealed when I caught up with Chris shortly after, he said he’d done about 20 seconds faster than me. Not totally surprising to be honest, and when we got into the hall he had been fastest, then myself, then John Dewey a few seconds back on me, so it was a pretty tight affair at the sharp end, especially considering the distance, smaller gaps than at the KW 14 event. Good news for Paceline too as we took the top few spots in the road category, and took the team prize!

I said I’d like to get in the top 3 for this event and managed that, so while I was always wondering if I had pushed harder down the hill, I am not dissatisfied with the result, one more sporting TT in the East Surrey Hardriders and then a few road races to get stuck into.

I’ve bought an S works Tarmac frame and a new 11 speed di2 groupset for that as I fancied a change and would be interesting to see if bikes have moved on since Hushovd won the green jersey on the same S3 I’m riding!

https://www.strava.com/activities/255226307

Kingston Wheelers Sporting 14

8 Feb

Now this blog is a few years old (and incorrectly named!) there is going to start to be repetition, not only in the events, but probably in the results too, however, today was a day for some change at least, and change is good.

As you may know this course is fairly local to me and is just down in Ripley, Surrey, its two 6.8 mile circuits of a rolling course, first few miles are up a long drag called Hungry Hill Lane, its a really crap road, and to add insult to injury, the council resurfaced only parts of it about a year ago meaning its a bit like flying through turbulence, dead calm one minute, bone shaking anguish the next! Then there is a short stretch down some dual carriageway (it is a time trial afterall!!) then a couple of miles down a steady hill with decent surface before repeating yourself.

Last year I managed to win the event, however the field was fairly small and the course was pretty wet, and the wind was so strong I used an alu rim on the front with a crappy tyre rather than my 90mm deep wheel. It didn’t seem to make too much difference however and I manged to win in 31.28 from hill climb guru Tejvan Pettinger around 30 seconds back – in the back of my mind I had Wouter Sybrandy (ex sigma pro and generally an ox strong rouleur/tester!) and his course record of 30.50 in my mind, however 2014 was not the year I was going to get anywhere near that.

Fast forward to today and the weather was pretty good, a gentle tailwind p the drag and moderate temps of around 5-6 deg, enough for me to wear my summer clothing anyway (perhaps I was just braver than some!). I’ve had a fairly decent winter and though I am certainly a bit heavier this year (due to no crash dieting) I’ve not been ill at all which is crucial in maintaining the load. I’ve done a bit of TT specific stuff in the last couple of weeks and was feeling ok. I knew that this would be a tough event to win as the field was a fair bit stronger than last years – perhaps most noteworthy of the strong guys were Connal Yates (brother of Sean), Pete Tadros (who said he has been 2nd five times here!), Liam Maybank who has been putting in 20 hour weeks for longer than I care to remember, and an outside threat from Keith Lea, a fellow Paceline rider who has recently made the switch to TT’s from pure road racing.

Being former winner has some perks, last off being the main one, meaning its going to be warmer, no chance of being caught by anyone and you don’ t have to hang about at the end waiting for times! I had a decent warm up and made my way to the line – Xavier had been telling me that we don’t want to see 400w on the garmin for the first lap, and an average of around 355w would be a good result having probably averaged around 350w last year, I listened well, and then as usual the heat of the moment took over, half way through the first lap I think I’d just about averaged 400w for the first 8 or so mins and I was feeling good, I scaled back a bit to save myself from the inevitable blow up and finished lap 1 a few seconds shy of course record beating pace (26.5 mph would do it, just!) having had to take the corners pretty slowly and avoid a car hell bent on going through a huge puddle at 40mph (idiot) in the middle of the road forcing me out of the aerobars to avoid.

Into the second lap I knew I had it all to do if I wanted to break that record and it dawned on me with about 4 miles to go that I needed to make up 1 mph average speed to do it, not easy. I was still going quite well and with the last of the dodgy corners out of the way I was into the last 2 and a bit miles down Ripley Road, I still needed to push the average from 26 to 26.5 mph, that was incentive enough to bury myself for the last 4 minutes, dong well over 400w and around 33-34mph, I got the 200m to go sign and it was yet to tick over that last 0.1 mph, it was going to be stupidly close… I lunged for the line and stopped my garmin on 30.50 exactly but knowing I started it 1 second early – if I had done it, it was going to be close!

I trundled back to the car and made my way to the HQ, I noticed people were not quite as happy as I was when I told them how I thought I got on, odd I thought, either my garmin was borked or someone had utterly smashed me to bits…all was revealed when I saw the time board and my time had been recorded as 31.49, this was good news as I knew it was a simple mistake and my time was 1 minute out, i.e. I had done the record by a single second. I felt a bit bad for Pete Tadros who had done 31.24 was under the impression for a fair while that he had won (Connal had done 31.52 beaten to 3rd spot by Liam who had done 31.40), but eventually my time was corrected and indeed I had won by 35 seconds from Pete who had to settle for yet another second place in this event, still pretty impressive to still be smashing it into the majority of riders, and he made a mug of me in our club hill climb! Liam also bettered his previous time by some margin to take 3rd spot.

A good morning all in all, thanks to Paceline RT being fielding some very nippy riders in Pat Wright and Keith Lea, we managed to break the team course record too from A3crg, I came away with a decent wedge of cash which is a nice way to end a mornings pain, that 1 second earned me £100, watch out Cav, not even you earn £100 a second! Next week we do it all again at Redhill, a decent field signed up there, too,  with many of today’s riders and some more strong men in Wouter, Chris Mac and Jamie Pine (and many others I’ve probably not spotted!) signed up. It should be good!

https://www.strava.com/activities/252084087/overview

Big thanks to KW for a great event and Dominic Trevett for the awesome poster http://dominictrevett.blogspot.co.uk/ – sadly the sodding cat has knocked it over and broken the glass already! So I’ll have to find my local art shop to rectify that pronto.

Christmas time trials & that

7 Jan

With Christmas out of the way I don’t think I did too badly, I haven’t bothered eating like a monk over winter this year, I am convinced this led me to be more ill last year than I have been in previous years. Training seems to be on track, a dry Christmas period allowed me to get in a couple of decent weeks of riding, and hopefully I’ll manage a few more solid weeks before the season proper kicks off.

Most road racers would assume I’d be talking about Perfs I would think, I’m not though, 45 miles of racing in the Feb weather against a load of boys who have spent the last month in Calpe or some other temperate training ground didn’t appeal much, so much like years gone by I’ve decided to start with a few sporting time trials, namely the Kingston Sporting 14 which I won last year, followed by the Redhill 18 (5th two years back) and then I may make the trip for the famous North Road Hardriders event which usually attracts a decent field usually with a smattering of domestic pro’s among the usual crowd. I’ve yet to really digest the BC calendar this year, but I imagine my first road race will be something like the Pete Young (flat innit) or similar, this year I’ll take the road stuff as it comes, the summer and tail end of the season I came to appreciate my weekends a bit more as I wasn’t trekking to Kent or god knows where every weekend, so I am in two minds as to my plan. But I’m thinking at this point I’ll try to keep things a little more local and see how that goes, there are enough races within an hours drive to keep me entertained along with a few midweek crits etc. That all said, the races I do go to I want to make sure I’m riding well, so training will still remain focussed as I think without the injury last year upon getting back from Ireland I was in the shape of my life and was set for results, but not to be, I want to be there again this April and be able to go to the Nat B races and mix it at the front.

I did manage to make it down to the Christmas 10 at Bentley a few weeks back, its quite surreal shaving your legs and pinning a number on in a freezing (it wasn’t too bad actually) lay by, but over 50 riders signed on with a very decent field, as good as any you could hope to get in the summer in fact!

A lot had changed since my first ride on Bentley two or so years back when I was off at number 13 or something on a makeshift TT bike, now I was the last ‘0’ off with Adam Topham in front of me at number 60. For people that know, I doubt anyone thought I was actually fully deserving of that seed, but Adam hasn’t visited any of the REALLY fast ten courses so my PB is a lot lower than his, which is all that counts in this sense. I did this event last year and came 2nd with 21.17 (I think) losing to Justyn Cannon who clocked 20.47 for the win, I was pretty annoyed as I’d beaten him previously and my power was lower than usual. Since then I’ve come to realise that my old powermeter was probably inflating my ego a touch, probably to the tune of 7-10w, so actually the power was probably about right, albeit low. It probably means that my best power for a ten at the National would have equated to around 395-400w on the old meter with Q rings though!

Anyway, I warmed up and got to the start, where my dad was waiting with his dog… He said, “I’ll see you in 20 mins” I replied with “I doubt it” – Topham had done this event previous times and clocked 20.01 and 20.00 so given I had only managed a short 21 the year before, I thought it was a full blown conclusion that he would win convincingly. However when I got to the turn my speed wasn’t terrible considering the stupid wind, the return leg was fast, well over 30mph with the last 2 miles at over 35mph, I was going pretty well, I dug in and kept it going, power was looking good at around 370w, and as the line approached I was on for a half decent time. 20.13 to be exact, which is only 11 seconds worse than my best on this course in the summer in 20 deg + temps!

I was feeling pleased about the ride but doubtful I’d have beaten Topham, indeed I hadn’t, he had done a very impressive 19.58, which I think he was very pleased with all things considered. I was particularly pleased as I’d not really ridden the TT bike since August, so hopefully being a good minute faster year on year for 9 more watts is a good sign, and a sign of things to come for the early season perhaps, hard to know for sure at this point but I am feeling fairly confident about the sporting TT’s and think I can put in a good showing at most of them barring disaster.

http://www.strava.com/activities/231460811

Next update probably be in a month or so when I’ve done the Kingston event, lets hope the weather plays ball!

2014 and beyond…

27 Oct

20 degrees in London today. Sometimes I question whether I should be writing a season summary at all given it still feels like May outside! Anyway, I have knocked the racing on the head for the time being so thought I’d cover the season gone and a few bits and bobs.

Firstly, a few people have asked me about coaching, so I’ll give a little overview on what I’ve seen over the past 12 months whilst working with RST (and Xavier Disley more specifically). The first step is to obviously take the mental step towards taking things a bit more seriously, or so I thought, the truth is, I don’t think you need to think coaching is necessarily taking it more seriously. I was riding 200 or so miles a week, every week prior to getting onboard with RST, that is taking it quite seriously, especially as I was racing most weeks. So really the way I see coaching is just a move towards a bit more clarity, I still end up riding a bike roughly the same amount as I did previously, but now there is a purpose to doing so. And I don’t have to think about it – for me having everything written down with a clear goal is far easier, and I have found I’ve done sessions that I would never have done on my own accord purely because they were planned out and I’d basically paid for them.

The upshot of this not immediately obvious because I was fairly well-trained already, however after around 4 months of following the plans the numbers started to show that I was moving in the right direction, and this was despite getting very unlucky with illness. And by the time I got to the RAS I felt I was in the best shape I have ever been, around 75-76kg, had knocked out 385W for half an hour a week prior in training, I was ready. And indeed the first couple of days of the RAS I felt fantastic, and I put that down to the coaching, I had done the work, backed off a bit to peak, and I was there, I felt amazing. I would not have been able to create that on my own. For sure. Obviously I ended up injured after stage 3 which then put a damper on the road race season after that, but that is the way it goes sometimes. So I would say if you’re already putting a lot of time into what you do, but you think you could be using your time better, at least consider it. It’s not particularly cheap I guess, but its nice to have a highly educated chap to bounce ideas off of, and of course to tell me what and when to do certain workouts. A bargain in that sense.

As said the road season petered off after that really, a few race cancellations, and a few clashes of events meant that I never really got back into that after, I managed 10th from a break in a tough SERRL race which was a nice boost, but really I was doing a lot more crits and TT’s after May. Having Xav on hand when it comes to time trialing is a huge boon, I have no doubt improved a lot in that sense, and I think my results speak for themselves on that. Ever since I got the TT bike I’ve been half decent (I’ve won 9 TT’s of around 18 ridden), but to really kick on and start mixing it at the sharp end was something I don’t think I was capable of until this year, that was namely due to tweaking position, lots of other small tweaks, a bit more power, and all of these things combined have meant I’ve been going considerably faster than last year, anything up to 30 seconds faster in a ten from my calcs. The highlight of all of that was in my mind the 48.14 in the Port Talbot event, which makes me the 22nd fastest rider of all time for the distance, and probably the performance at the National Ten. While I was not particularly amazed by the time (arrogant that may sound) I knew that I got the very best out of myself when it counted, most watts I’ve done in TT position by some margin.

I still managed to keep hold of my 1st cat, which will be useful for getting a ride in the bigger races what with the huge influx of talent in the sport, being a 2nd cat doesn’t always get you a ride. Next season I will likely try to put more eggs in the road racing basket, I really want to kick on in that sense. There is more intrigue for me in rocking up to a road race and not knowing how it might go or who might win. While I find time trials quite pure, it’s not vastly exciting to me knowing roughly what time and what position I will finish in, so next year I’ve set goals that many testers wouldn’t be fussed with. I’m not going to chase the super quick courses, mainly because they’re miles away, and mainly because it’s so dependant on conditions. I’ll target local courses more often and while conditions will be key, at least I won’t have driven 3 hours to get crap weather!

For next year I’ve planned out these as goals :

1. Defend title at Kingston Sporting 14 and break Wouters course record, top 3 in Redhill 18
2. Do a 49 on H25/8 (51.40 current best)
3. Do sub 19.30 on H10/8 (20.02 current best)
4. Break into 22’s on Richmond Park TT course (23.16 this years best)
5. Top 10 at Nat 10 & Nat 25 (16th in ten this year)
6. Have more success in road races and get a win, no wins this season for first time – hopefully without injury this will happen

I’ve yet to plan the season race wise as I’ve not looked at the calendars etc yet, but hopefully I will find those challenging but do-able if I can move things on a bit from where I am now.

Cheers!

IMG_5058.JPG

25 miles in 48 minutes.

10 Sep

Back in January, or possibly given my eager state over last winter – even December, I set a few goals. They losely were split half and half between road racing and time trialing. Being honest the road racing goals were optimistic, and I’ll be honest I have fallen short by some distance in those. The best I’ve done in a Nat b road race has been 10th, although I’ve been top five in a few nat b crits, and I’ll probably just about hold on to my 1st cat license this year vs my targets which were to win a nat b race and to see if I could get to elite.

Anyway, I won’t bother giving too much texture on the shortcomings and reasoning for that here, I’ll save that for a boring October morning where I’ll summarise everything in the last year or so, including perhaps giving a bit of feedback on my coaching from RST and Xavier Disley, as I know spending out money on this sort of thing is always something people are interested to hear about for their own benefit and decision on perhaps making that move.

Back on the goals then, half of them were time trial related, so far this year I’ve accomplished all of the goals I set myself in the TT side of things, the only exception was the 10 mile club record, and for various reasons that will now be very hard to obtain. However this weekend gone was my second attempt at the blue ribband (or so they say) event of the TT world, the 25 mile distance! As you may remember from a couple of months back I was on course to accomplish my goal time of sub 50 minutes, and was likely also on to break the club record of 49.20, but I went the wrong way on the course and messed it all up!! So it did take me a while to calm down and consider another attempt.

For 25 mile time trials, if you’re after a quick time then there are a few options, two of which involved riding on fairly busy roads, including the last attempt I had at Etwall. However the 3rd option is the R25/3L course in Wales. Now its quick because it has a downhill in it, and as such this is where most of the very quick times from the very quick riders have been set. Its a nice setting for a time trial, in a Welsh Valley near Neath. Not exactly on the doorstep of Surbiton to be honest, a 3 hour drive away, but I was willing to have one last tilt and spend 6 hours of my life driving just so I could ride a bike for hopefully 48 or 49 minutes.

The week leading up to was fairly unremarkable, it followed my usual format infact, bit of training, too much booze on Thursday night, and the obligatory cleanse on Friday and Saturday! I made the drive up there and got up there in good time, my start time was pretty early doors considering I came in on a fairly average time of 51.11 as a PB, so I was off number 51 of 150. Usually in TT’s I’m near the end of the field, but this particular event had attracted a very good standard of rider. Matt Bottrill was riding and going to attempt to better the competition record of 45.46 previously set by Irishman Michael Hutchinson (who was also riding). Other riders who I would be up against at the sharp end were Blake Pond who beat me by a margin in the Nat 10 to come 8th, Adam Gascoigne who was just 2 seconds back on my at the Nat 10. And also former Olympic Rower Nick English who did the exact same time as me at the Nat 10.

The plan was to go off and keep it steady down the slope up to the turn, and then nail it on the last 9 miles home which was uphill and into a headwind (very gentle uphill and very low wind, but it would hurt the speed for sure). I warmed up, necked a Monster Rehab or whatever the hell its called, the one that isn’t fizzy, and off I went. As predicted the first half was indeed very fast. I got to the turn at mile 15 with an average speed of 33.5 mph..! Got round the overly complex turn thanks to the marshalls and set about killing myself on the way back. Managed over 20w more power for the second half to the first, which certainly did help. I knew when I was watching people for 4 or 5 minutes that I was going well, I could see the final turn off in sight, there was a brief time where I thought my time might begin with 47, but the last slog put paid to that and I crossed the line in 48.14. Which bettered the last club record by 1 minute 6 seconds. This also makes me the (I think) 20th or 21st fastest rider over 25 miles of all time according to the all time fastest list on the Timetrial forum.

Back to the HQ for a bit of waiting around, there was a fair time where my name was on the board as fastest rider, beating Nick and Adam by around a minute or so, which pleased me given how close they were to me in the Nat 10. Eventually the last times came through, Blake Pond had beaten me by around 20 seconds, Hutch had done a long 46 so around 1 min 20 better than me, and eventually the flying postman came in with a competition record breaking time of 45.43, so I was in 4th spot, which pleased me given the field. Great ride my Bottrill, pleased he’s had the season he probably deserves, that means he is nat champ over 10,25,50 miles, and has set comp records in all but the 10 (thanks to that pesky Alex Dowsett.

That rounds off my year of time trials most likely, all that is left are a couple of road races, and a crit this weekend to hopefully get some points to retain 1st category. The following week is the Handicap Championships which I managed 3rd in last year so hopefully I can do well there again.

http://www.strava.com/activities/191236908

National 10 Champs

2 Sep

After Hillingdon and the 19 on the club course the other week, I was feeling pretty confident about one of my big goals for the season, which was the CTT National 10 mile Champs.

I’ve ridden a fair few TT’s this year, and a slight tweak in position has meant I’ve gone pretty well, winning a fair few and breaking course bests most of the time I’ve been riding. The nationals this year was perhaps different to many others, mainly because it was being held on a slight variant of the V718 course, which is widely known as the fastest 10 course in the country. Many many people have gone there and found they went a lot quicker than their previous best. I’d not ridden it before, mainly as it was so far away (4-5 hour drive). But given this was the nationals, and it could be a chance to pb I thought it was worth a trip up there.

To make the trip a bit more of an occasion that just 8 hours in a car we went up to York on the Friday, staying till Monday, a nice town to visit, plenty to see and do. That said, I wouldn’t recommend walking up the tower in the Minster before a race! The day of the TT rolled round and I was keen to get there early to get a lay of the land, I got there some 3 hours before my start having driven the course to make sure I knew it.

My goal was to be top 15, with a stretch goal of top 10, I knew this would be a big ask, given it was on this course it attracted the highest quality field that any event has seen I think. The event closed on a mid 20, which means that the slowest riders PB that was riding was a mid 20, i.e. over 28mph avg ten mile time trial. And there were 150 riders, so that gives you an idea of the general standard. To further give perspective, in my own club which has a considerable amount of riders (500 or so ) only the top 10 or so ten mile times of ALL TIME dating right back to 1995 for one of the oldest times (i.e. decades of time trials), one of being me, would have got a ride in this event. So it was sort of a ‘who’s who’ of the UK TT scene. And the only notable exception was probably Dowsett or Wiggins.

At the sharp end it would likely be between 10 times champion, Michael Hutchinson, young pro, national road and TT champ of Ireland Ryan Mullen – An Post team, and of course the flying postman that is Matt Bottrill!

Other contenders for the podium would be former KOM winner in the Tour of Britain Russ Hampton (who battered me a month or two back), former National HC champion Matt Clinton who is somewhat the all-rounder smashing course records left right and center while still being pretty handy on a climb, Andy Jackson who riding a futuristic looking Falco bike has been flying this year doing numerous 18 minute times and generally going very quickly at any distance he attempts. Beyond that there was the usual raft of talent, many of which had done the sub 19 and sub 50 for a 25 thing many times over. So to get top 15 or ten was going to be a tough one, but I always thought it was possible.

I was off nearish the end of the field and by the time I was heading out the standout time was Cambridge Uni and Kingston local Ed Bradbury with 18.15. Lopping a minute or more off his PB, remarkable stuff, he should go on to be a VERY handy road rider with his light frame and big engine, watch this space. I got to the start and wait to be set off. There could be no denying that I had ‘tapered’ for this event, and I felt pretty fresh (despite the ache in my right calf from the stairs to the tower, but it felt fine on the bike), the idea was to pace the ride well, up the tempo near certain parts of the course and then totally destroy myself on the last mile after the final turn.

As I headed down the sliproad I felt good, I had in the back of my mind not to go too hard, but 380-390w felt so easy so early, so I pushed on with caution, it was a quick day, I was at 32-34mph at all times on the way out. I came to the turn with an average speed of just shy of 33mph, up the slip road, round the double roundabout without losing too much speed, I felt good. There was now a shortish stretch of slight drag before the final dogleg onto the last mile, I was really pushing on now, and was holding around 390-400w up the slight drag, I got to within sight of the dogleg and the average was still looking good, I was fairly sure I was at least going to do an 18 minute time which was a goal too.

I got to eh dogleg and noticed to my horror a caravan and a car behind it were coming round at snails pace, I slowed down, and was just behind the car, who thankfully moved over to let me up the inside, the caravan however crawled for a bit before deciding it was turning right. I was pretty pissed off, but nothing you can do, it probably didn’t cost me much time. And actually it spurred me on to really drill the last section. And I did. I was in fact joint fastest over the last 1 mile with Ed Bradbury (of who is on Strava, which includes most of the riders). I stopped the clock in 18.46, which I was pleased with but knew would be a fairly middling time given Ed had done 18.15!

I got back to the HQ and the long wait continued, the times started to come in, as the tail-end of the field came in I was nudged out of the top 10, and slowly but surely started slipping towards the top 15, then Steve Irwin came in and had beaten me by one second haha! He took 15th in the end, and I was 16th. To be honest I was initially a bit annoyed, I’d been beating Steve by some margin all year, but I think likely on less flat and fast courses than this, so perhaps his superior aerodynamics really showed themselves today in what was a great ride on the back of his 18.19 last week!

I’d only have needed to find around 16 seconds to move from 16th to 8th, due to the closeness of the field, 16 seconds on a course like that is probably not all that much pending the traffic you get come by you, without the momentary caravan hold up, and a few more vehicles I think I’d have been in spitting distance, which really is all I can ask for at this point. Beyond 8th the class begand to shine and the times were a fair bit quicker, 17.40 took the win for Bottrill, with Mullen just 2 seconds back for Silver, and Vet Hutchinson came in with 17.53 to take the Bronze. Russ Hampton beat me by almost the exact same margin as he did at Bentley to take 4th with a stonking 17.58. Most people class doing a 19 as the golden stamp of ten mile time trialing, but in this event doing a 19 would have got you 86th place. No doubt this course was quick, but it wasn’t as quick as the regular version, I think the times speak for themselves, the scene has come on and the talent is exceptional.

Goals for next year I am unsure of, but I think I can improve on this, the road stuff will still be a focus next year, I think with a few tweaks, a bit more power, I can cement myself into that top 10 level. Maybe I should be happy with my ride, but part of what keeps me motivated is always seeking improvement.

http://www.strava.com/activities/187943725

Hillingdon

2 Sep

I won’t go on for too long about this, it was just a 1 hour crit afterall. However it was slightly noteable as I felt like I rode better than usual, and maybe a sign of racing a bit smarter than I previously have.

I actually didn’t expect there to be much of a field as there was another few larger races the following day. But on arrival I noticed a couple of lads from Pedalheaven, Rob Moore and rapid finisher Lewis Atkins who has got the better of me in two other occasions in the last year in a sprint. Also Wouter Sybrandy who is fast on the road to recovery after his crash in the TOB some time back, Lawrence Carpenter of Catford, Chris Morrison from Cadence, a couple of the CSE racing lot, and a load of other clubs with ones and twos. I think the total field was around 35 riders, perhaps a bit more. But clearly not short of strong riders, so I was skeptical of my chances a bit.

We got off to a quick start and it was obvious that this was not going to stay together, a few attacks came and went, I followed all the ones I thought looked good. Then about 20 mins in a few of us went away, it was initially3 or so riders, but soon Lewis and Rob came over, and we were 7 I think. We worked fairly well (with a few people dropping turns/pace here and there) and kept it going for the next 40 or so minutes, eventually we had a minute gap on the bunch so it was going to be between us. A few attacks started to happen at this point, literally everyone had a go at some point I think, I chased over to Wouter on one occasion and thought we might get away with Lewis in tow, but no. I then attacked with 4 to go, Lewis again came with but to no avail, Lawrence then had a dig but was brought back with 3 to go. Eventually it came to the last lap, Rob Moore led it out, I was 4th wheel behind Wouter with Lewis in Rob’s wheel, onto the final straight I waited for Lewis to launch and when he did I was hot in pursuit, I passed Wouter, but was never gaining or losing ground on Lewis and he took the win and me 2nd. I think next time I am in that situation I will jump first, that is likely my only shot at beating him in a sprint. I think I only need 4 points more to retain first category, which is something I would like to do, got a few races left so shouldn’t be an issue really, that said I have kept an eye on the October races just incase it doesn’t pan out, I’ve had to miss a few races to concentrate on TT’s in Aug/Sept so we’ll see!

http://app.strava.com/activities/184341720

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