Been super busy recently so not so many updates, but in the last few weeks I’ve done quite a mixture of events, culminating in the first really big one just this Sunday in the National 25 (the blue ribband event, cliche it may be, but its probably true for the CTT)!
In terms of the other stuff, I’ve done a few crits, and a road race and another TT or two, I won the second Richmond Park TT which was nice, makes it 5 in a row, this despite getting in from my holiday just 3 hours before my start time! I then had a spate of punctures, some far more irritating than others, the first was at Palace where I punctured my own wheel then punctured the spare I got given on the last lap. I then drove a fairly long way into Kent to do a road race that suits me well, it didn’t have a really strong field, and I thought I had a chance of a very good result, same old story though, 30 miles in I hit a huge hole and blew out my rear tub, really annoying!
I’ve also been on holiday, so was nice to visit Montenegro and see some fantastic landscapes, and go somewhere not ruined by tourists (well, cruise ships were plentiful, but they didn’t stay long). It also had some fantastic roads, especially the climb from Kotor to Lovcen, 22 miles of climbing at 5% avg, here is a view from half way up said climb :
Beyond that its been about trying to balance everything out, its warm outside and there are lots of social events going on, so I’ve had to try and balance that, I’ve also soon got a spate of weddings and stag parties to attend, so August was to be a fairly important month, it had both of the national TT events I had entered, and some of the last road races I’ll do, its currently looking like I’ll slip back to 2nd cat, which I have mixed feelings about but we’ll see how I get on in the next few weeks.. Onto the Nat 25 then…
I’d had a bit of time on the TT bike recently, I had a crack at doing a sub 50 on Bentley a week prior, goals were simple, go sub 50, and ideally not get beaten, James Boyman was riding and I knew he was better than when we met at the ten where I managed to beat him by 25 secs, and possibly I was worse, it was in hindsight the beginning of getting sick, I felt ok during the race but was still down on best power, and on a windy day James clocked a superb winning time of 49.33 and I could only manage 50.04, annoyingly close to my target, I’ll have to go back..
What that really meant, however, was that there was now a fairly real threat of me not being able to do what I wanted at the Nationals, which I’ve always said for this year was to be in the top 10 in both 25 and 10 mile events, but already a few people I knew full well I wouldn’t beat, adding folk like James into that list started to make for depressing reading! Amusingly I’ve just read his blog and his section on tapering could have come from my own mouth, the only thing that made mine easier to follow was that I was snotty and coughing most of the week, up to around Thursday, so doing short rides suited me fine! But when the day came round it was quickly obvious what shape I’d be in!
As usual I got about 3 hours sleep on Saturday night, I’d gone to a mates birthday that day and not touched a drink despite everyone else tucking in so was annoyed not to be able to sleep. Over time I’ve got less of a ribbing about shunning social events in favour of cycling as I think people (friends) have managed to make the distinction between a cyclist in someone who does a few Wiggle events, and one who wants to do half decent in a national level event, they still think I’m odd for shaving my legs mind you! Anyway, Lucy and I drove up to Marlow pretty early, I wanted to make sure I knew what the turns looked like and wanted to scout the roads for marshalls to make sure I wasn’t going to waste it all by going the wrong way, something I’ve managed before after a long drive. I warmed up after having had a solid prep talk from Xav who’d just got in from his effort on fixed gear, he gave me the lowdown, and we talked over how I was going to ride the course and what should and should not be done in order to get the best result possible!
I felt pretty average while warming up, dull legs, but not too bad, I got up to the startpoint and had a natter with Matt Clinton and Andy Jackson who surely would both be contenders, took my mind off the world of hurt I’d be about to put myself in. I was one of the last few to start, and at 9.02 AM I was pushed off. I settled down into position and began to think about the task at hand. As usual the first minute I could probably ride at 700w and feel no pain, but you must hold back in these situations, in fact I spent the first 20 minutes riding fairly within myself, or comfortably hard (snigger), I knew this race was to be won or lost on the 25 minute single carriageway section. One bit of info I’d retained among a wash of forgotten knwoledge was Bob Tobin (Bottrills coach) saying he thought it would be won with a 48 and you’d need a 49 to be in the top 10 (bang on as we later found out), so when I got to the turn with a middling 29mph average I wasn’t quite sure what to think. I’d done just over 350w and wanted to ensure that I did the second half a fair bit higher. This is something I’ve managed to do quite naturally in races but its resulted in me never overcooking myself and always likely getting nearly the best result possible. My split time was actually noticeably slow for my finish time, so maybe I went just a bit too easy!
At the turn here, credit to Ian Sherriffs
Into the second half I began to push on, I was debating hitting the lap button so I knew not to let myself slack off, but I decided to just crack on and push as hard as possible. The first half had seen me make it through 6 or so roundabouts without issue, but on the way back twice people under-estimated my closing speed (only human I suppose) and pulled out on me and then proceeded to forget where the accelerator was located and twice I was out of the bars motioning at them to put their foot down, not optimal. Just before the turn back onto the main road and the last five miles I threw up in my mouth, and then over my stem, so that was at least a fairly reliable acid test of my effort, stomach acid mixed with SIS gel in this case.
With 5 miles left to go I started to really wind it up, it was hurting, and with the last possible hold up point done without having to slow down too much I was into the last 3 minutes or so of the race, avg speed was now over 30mph which pleased me somewhat, I pushed as hard as I could, only remembering how irritated I was by such a small margin keeping me out of the top 10 in the National 10 last year (it was actually a fair bit, but 5 secs would have bought a few places). I pushed all the way to the line and stopped my garmin on 49.32, which usually means you’ve done about 49.30 given I start it about 1.5 secs early and stop it about 1 sec after the line.
Aside from his books, which I enjoyed, I’ve not really paid too much attention to Hutch of late, mainly as he isn’t racing anymore, but he did say something I really liked the other day in a podcast with Mark Florence – “I would decide upon finishing a TT whether I was happy with my time/performance before getting to the HQ to find out what everyone else had done” – so often I’ve been happy until I’ve seen what others have done, I decided today I wasn’t going to carry on with that theme. I decided that I was happy with the ride, I’d managed 357W which is about 6w down on what I managed in a recent 25 if you take out the ski slope start, and you’d hope probably more like 10w down on what a proper taper should have yielded. I put this down to me not being well that week, so I was pleased to be within 1% of my best despite all of that – but Xav said if I had done 11w more, or just 6w more than I have done before I could have been within spitting distance of a 48…
Another from Ian here
I got up to the hall to find myself with an official 49.33 which I found a touch odd, but wasn’t too worried about, though I was tied with Adam Topham for 6th place (last time we raced he beat me by 13 or so secs in a ten), so perhaps in hindsight I’d have liked to have been given my 1 or 2 seconds! So all in all I was happy, 6th was better than I’d have hoped for leading up to it, a couple of non finishers may have changed that slightly, but that’s racing sadly, you gotta finish first to have a chance of finishing first and all that.
Hoping to get back into my best shape for the 10 in 4 weeks time which is on a course that should do me a favour with it being so quiet and traffic free, hopefully I can get up into the top 10 again, should be a similar field I suspect, though I have heard a rumour about Wiggins riding, so that may scupper things somewhat!
Top ten here :
1 Ryan Perry Langdale Lightweights R T 00:48:04
2 Matthew Bottrill http://www.drag2zero.com 00:48:24
3 Kieron Davies http://www.drag2zero.com 00:48:36
4 Joshua Williams Revolutions Racing 00:48:45
5 Matt Clinton Mike Vaughan Cycles 00:49:03
6 Rob Sharland Paceline RT 00:49:33
6 Adam Topham High Wycombe CC 00:49:33
8 James Boyman Farnham RC 00:49:39
9 Matthew Smith Team Velovelocity.co.uk 00:50:01
10 Brett Harwood Terry Wright Cycles RC 00:50:15