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