Richmond Park TT / Alton CC 10

1 Jul

A weekend of being a tester was the order of the day(s) for the weekend just gone. Saturday was a 10 on the Bentley course (H10/8 for those in the know), and Sunday was my second bite at the cherry at the second event of 3 in the Richmond Park TT series. I hadn’t told anyone but I wanted to win both and do a half decent time on the Bentley course.

Saturday – Bentley

This was hosted by Alton CC, to be honest given I grew up very close by and went to Alton College, until very recently I didn’t know they had a cycling club, so it was a nice surprise to see the name in the Handbook. My only other time on this course was back last summer where I had attempted a 25 on the road bike. I was going well, until around mile 14 and hit a hole by the Hen & Chicken pub and got a flat. So I took a few mins to drive the course just to spot any big holes before I rode it. Sure enough most of the worst of it was very close to where I’d come a cropper last time – mentally noted.

I’d had a skim over the start-sheet and I only recognised a couple of names, Richard Prebble was riding, so I was looking forward to bench-marking myself against him as he’d beaten me earlier in the year in the Redhill 18. It was a great day of weather, apparently not the fastest day having spoken to people after, but it felt OK to me. Got off to a start and made sure to put a bit more effort in on the outward leg as there was a vague headwind, felt like I was going quite well, got to the turn in good time knowing that the return was quite quick and that there would be an element of tailwind. What was proving tough was how warm I was getting, and also holding the latest position on the bike was making my shoulders and neck ache a bit, but I knew how much narrower I was if I could hold my shoulders together etc, so just put up with it.

Got past the Hen and Chicken on the way back and was feeling OK, speed was looking good, it was about this point where I realised a 19 wasn’t on the cards but a lower 20 was, so I motored on, the last couple of miles are very quick, and I felt like an extra gear would have been nice at times, may look at getting 55/42 but not sure how practical that would be on the road given I use the same powermeter chainset!

Anyway, a final effort for the line and I stopped the garmin at 20.22, felt like I’d had a good ride, legs certainly felt spent (though made worse by saddle being a bit too low). Rolled back up to the HQ and saw Richard outside, he’d done a 20.45, I think, I wandered in and sure enough Richard was quickest to that point, with Phil Ember of KW in 3rd. So a nice way to start the weekend. Thanks to Alton CC for promoting.

Sunday – Richmond Park TT

This was a last minute effort to rectify my awful ride at the first event, where I took a little tumble on one of the roundabouts, which probably cost me a podium. So I was keen to at least get a clean ride on the course to see if I could at least get up there again.

Having scanned the startlist, the competition was not quite as strong as last time as no Martin, and no Steve. However there was Rob Moore who rides for Phoenix, I’ve raced in a few races that Rob has and its clear he has a huge engine, I remember him towing our group back on at my first race at Palace. So being the geek I am I knew Rob was capable of some serious power, so had it in my head that he was the competition for the top step. I was off last and he was off 30 secs ahead of me.

On the day my legs felt ok, but for some reason I could feel the 10 from the previous day in them, and the beer/German sausage overload of the night before surely wasn’t the ideal prep, but I’d rather have done that than a Nat b road race the day before as Rob had… Got myself up there had a quick chat with Gareth who had stormed to victory in the road cat in 25.05, which is nearly 40 secs quicker than my winning time last year and a minute quicker than Aaron’s winning time a couple of weeks back. Rapid.

I trundled down to the start, man of the moment Mike Debney was pusher off, it was sure to be a good battle as Martin said as Rob went off down the road. I got going and settled into a rhythm, I was keen to change a couple of aspects of my ride today, firstly stay on the bike, and secondly ride the hills a bit smarter. So when I got to the first steep ramp I employed Steve’s tactic of smashing up it out of the saddle, not the most elegant, but I was sure it was the quickest way – (as you can see Jason captured the moment perfectly – check out some of his other shots, some good stuff on there).

As I approached the turn at Kingston Gate which is about half way I could see a Phoenix Rider coming the other way, and my first thought was ‘shit’ as I thought it was Rob and if it was he’d taken 30 secs out of me already, it was only when I got very close to the turn that I did see Rob, and I thought I’d maybe gained a few seconds on him, so was feeling positive. Back up the long drag to Richmond and I couldn’t really see him, I took that turn super easy as to not have a repeat of last week and then took the hill at speed. There was a nice wind pushing down there and 40 mph felt easy at times, so I was careful not to push on too much as it would be wasted effort. Into the final turn I caught a glimpse ahead of Rob and really put the hammer down for those last 4 mins (410w apparently) and killed myself up the hill to the finish. I stopped the clock a bit short of Steve’s winning time of 23.31 and was given 23.44 – still a bit of work to do in that respect.

Got back up to the results board and sure enough I’d managed to sneak it from Rob by 11 secs, 3rd was over a minute back with 24.50 I think – kudos to Martin on the seeding as last 3 off got 1,2,3.

So a pleasing ride, and another voucher for Sigma. Went straight home to bed! And then dragged myself out for another couple of hours later in the evening.

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