Richmond Park TT

19 Jun

This weekend brought the Richmond Park TT (1 of three events this year, organized by London Dynamo with Martin Williamson being the main man – who happens to be a pretty quick tester). I’d done it last year in the road bike category and won the event. I was feeling confident that I would be in the running this year, though it was always going to be tough with riders like Martin, and also Steve Irwin in the mix as he has been going very well recently.

The only thing I don’t like about these events is setting my alarm so early on a Sunday, but I shouldn’t moan too much, I live closer than most! I got the TT bike together and trundled up to the start point and used the 4 miles there as my warm up. I had a quick chat with Steve, and learned that a team mate Aaron had won the road bike category as I had done. No surprises from me as he is a strong rider. My legs were feeling ok, I had done a 10 mile TT the day before and was pleased with the power but not so much the time, thankfully it wasn’t too windy today. I was 3rd from last man, and had Stu Spies behind me for 30 secs, and Steve 1 min back, and Gavin Francis (who’s son Jamie put in a strong performance to win the junior category) as my carrot. I set off and was mindful not to go too hard right away, in hindsight this was the right thing to do, but when it came to the steep ramp on Sawyers Hill I took the approach of stay aero and keep going at a steady pace – what Steve did was out of the saddle and batter it up there as quick as possible, as such he took 4-5 secs out of me up there, and for once not because he is more aero!

Heading down towards the turn at Kingston Gate after negotiating the latest utterly pointless offering from Royal Parks (2 more hideous speed-bumps) Gavin was in sight, I wanted to get past him before the turn so put in an extra effort to do so. It was at this point where I was starting to panic, Steve was NOT far away at this point and I think was about to pass Stu himself. It gave me a shot in the arm and I dug in and tried to get up the long drag as quick as possible and round the corner (Cancellara corner no less) as quick as possible. As it turns out I was probably a little too hasty, as I passed round the roundabout banked over I started to pedal a little bit too early, and bang, I was on the deck. Pedal had struck the ground and the bike had kicked out from under me and I’d landed quite heavily on my right side (again, the same shoulder I battered in March). I could see blood on my knee, elbow, coming through my skin-suit on my hip but all I could think was to jump up and get on the bike ASAP. In my haste it took an age to clip in, and I was furious with myself, Gavin came by me, and also another chap I’d passed did too, but not Steve or Stu, but they were now NOT fat behind at all. I eventually got clipped back in and began again, I gave it a big effort down the hill (though barely any quicker than Steve if at all who freewheeled most of it haha!) and passed Gavin again, I made the right hand turn into the last straight and made damn sure to do it safely, I caught a glimpse of Steve and knew it was touch and go as to whether he would pass me. I had already accepted that my fall would put paid to winning, but I didn’t want to be passed by him. Though at this point I think he was unaware I’d come off, so must have had his suspicions about catching me so early. The final right hand turn into the finish drag and I could see Steve was now pretty close, I gave it everything I had left and was hurting by this point, I managed to cross the line without him coming by but stopped the clock at 24.29.

Got back to the HQ and surprised to see Martin had done a short 24, Stu Spies came in with almost a dead 24 and Steve had obliterated everybody with 23.31, so I was 4th – not terrible all things considered, but not what I wanted at all. Having looked back at race data I was ahead of Stu by 5 secs at the point I fell, but he did go very well in the second half, and though my power was good for the second half, I had to sit higher up as my shoulder was really hurting, so I think without the fall I could have got ahead of him but it would have been close. Still, that isn’t the way it went, and for Stu to beat Martin showed that he did a good ride, and I think he may have even surprised himself.

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