Richmond Park TT

17 Jun

So, not really a race as such, as the essence of time trialing of course is to race against only the clock (and indeed yourself if yo have previous times).

Richmond Park needs no introduction, most cyclists anywhere near the SE have ridden it, and for those outside the SE they will have been bored to tears with the endless threads on it on various forums, so will know it just as well!

I never really thought of doing anything like this until fairly recently, I was always under the impression that my best asset in cycling was my short burst power, which to an extent is true, but I’d done some decent solo efforts of varying distance over the past few weeks, so the idea to do something like this took shape. Most recently I managed to get into the park and do 3 fast UN-hindered laps, this gave me a bit of a shot in the arm, I knew I’d not be too far away from some of the faster times out there, but I managed to pace it well and come away with a pretty decent time of 49.17, for the distance which is 20.1 miles. Obviously this is not official, and means nothing more than a indicator of where you are at.

Anyway, at some point I’d entered the first of these TT’s as they fill up pretty fast. The way they work is that there are category’s for road bikes and TT, a road bike must not have deep wheels, tri bars, and the rider must wear a normal helmet. The course is a sporting course (not pan flat) and is 10.4 miles long, with one 180 deg turn on a small roundabout. The category I was going to go with was road, which meant taking off my Zipps and making sure it was all legal. There were 45 names on the start-sheet for the road categorie, and I only knew a few, which were all from KW so I knew who I would be close to time wise, and who would likely beat me based on me riding with him.

Being a first timer, and having never done a TT before, I was un-seeded and therefore set off first, this meant that my star-time was 6.07am. Lucky I live close then! On the morning it was a bit cold but wasn’t anywhere near as windy as the day before which would have made it hard work. I had an idea on pacing, and had put down some time splits from Jim Ley’s 2nd place time of 26.01 a couple of years ago. I knew that if I could be near those, then I’d do a decent time (even though the conditions could have been totally different, Jim says they were similar as it happens).

I set off 15th I think, I quickly got up to speed and settled into the drops to get as low as possible, I was going well along the straight flat section from Robin Hood to Roehampton, and caught my next man just after the first roundabout (the first of 5/6 as it happens). By the time I got to the top of the only notable hill (Sawyers Hill for those that know it) I was ahead of Jim’s split, so was going ok. Down the long shallow downhill towards Kingston I tried to keep it as quick as possible, and passed a couple more riders down this stretch before the 180 turn, which due to it being a tiny roundabout was going to sap the speed in a big way – 28 mph – 12mph. Back up to speed for the long drag back to Richmond Gate, I think at this point there was a tailwind of small proportion, by the time I’d got back up to Richmond Gate I was still about 10-15 secs ahead of Jim’s split. Back down Sawyers I knew this is where I could get some speed up, and I made sure to stay above 30 most of the way back down to Roehampton Gate. Now was the headwind it seemed, it felt a bit like hard work to be honest. I grinded my way down to the final little ramp up to the finish and at this point was about 20 secs in front of the splits, put in a big effort up the hill but felt like I was going nowhere, and crossed the line, glanced down and saw 25.39, which got turned into 25.43 as I started the garmin a bit late, I then collapsed on a bench for a few mins 🙂

Given I went out so early, it was a long wait for others to slowly come through, a lot of 27’s, a few 26’s when we got to the sharp end of the field, Alex came into the carpark (who was the one person I thought I’d not be able to beat) and had given it a big effort, we waited for a while, he said he’d done around 26, eventually it came in and he’d done 25.53 so just 10 secs behind. We then got ready to get on the podium and bugger off back to bed, however it was then that news got back one of the fast TT guys (Xavier Disley) had switched to the road category, such was his reptation that to organizer had actually penned his name into 1st place before he had even finished (cheers for the confidence boost!). He came in, and also had given it a big effort, we waited for a few mins, turns out he did a 26.11 (I think?) which put him into 3rd spot.

A good day had by KW with 4 people accross the categories on the podium! Couple of snaps below, wish I could hold the flat back position for a few hours, but for 25 mins it was fine and felt very aero.

Alex, Xav and I on the podium –

 

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One Response to “Richmond Park TT”

  1. Tobias May 26, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Nice work, good luck this year.

    Tobias Dahlhaus

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