SERRL – Lamberhurst

10 Mar

Yesterday was the first road race of the season, after a fairly successful early season with TT’s and training I was keen to get stuck in to the road stuff. Many people always say the first race is the hardest, but in previous years that has not been a mantra I have shared, mainly because I trained the same way with the same intensity all year round. However, this last 6 months have been different, there has been a focus on all durations of power, but the sway has been towards FTP, and there has been improvement in numbers as the time has gone on, but what I’ve perhaps not done all that much of yet is race style efforts which are always the most unpleasant to train and fairly needless for TT’s…

The race was on the Lamberhurst-Frant SERRL course which is fairly tough, it doesn’t have anything mega steep, but it doesn’t really have a moment of flat, its either up or down, and you certainly spend more time going up than you do down! There was a pretty strong field riding today, which given there was another big race on (Jock Wadley) really shows how many people are now of a high standard, teams of note included Pedal Heaven, Catford, Cadence (new team for the Cystal Palace shop), Richardsons Trek and a couple of others in the mix inc Elliot Porter flying the Rapha flag solo.

There were certainly a few riders going well at this point, I’d noticed in my twitter/strava travels that indeed most of the above had done decent stints abroad on training camps and were looking in good shape, sadly this year I’d not had time to get away for a camp like I did last year, job changes and life getting in the way!

When we finally rolled out in the lovely 18-20 degree sun I was about to find out just how well they were going! One of my least favorite parts of this course is the start which sees you led up the finish hill by the lead car before dropping his flag, and being the first lap it always pelts up there at high speed, I wasn’t feeling too bad as we crested and flew down the other side, and at the second hill I was keen to try and maintain a decent position, a bit of a mishap with the road in that it was a solid line, then not, then solid again, I probably was a bit guilty of going up the field when I shouldn’t have!

The race winning move formed on this very first lap with a number of strong riders getting away up the road, I was in no position to be going with that. After the first lap and constant changes of pace and responding to moves I felt the unusual sensation of burning legs, unusual in that normally I wouldn’t have this feeling til much later in the race. A chase group then formed which I probably should have tried to bridge over to and at one point I did attempt to, only to not be helped by the person who had come with so I stopped pushing. It was quickly clear that the front and indeed next group on the road were not going to be seen again by our bunch, which was a bit of a blow but I knew I wasn’t with it today.

At about the half way point I was riding on two lactic acid cylinders for legs, it was quite strange, I was pedaling at nominal pace and barely breathing hard yet my legs were saying no, over and over again. I was tempted to pull over and watch the finish, and said as much to a few people in our group that I knew, but was guilt tripped into carrying on and getting the race miles in. On the last lap I started to feel a bit better as it happened, still not great as my entire body was aching now. We approached the finish hill and I felt like I could probably finish at the front of our group at least which of course when everyone is on transponders is LIFE AND DEATH ;-), so waited for people to go and sprinted round to the line.

The race was won by Rhys Howells who came 2nd to Jake last time I raced here, clearly he has been training well and looked a different rider this time round and apparently won convincingly from Henry Latimer of Catford.

I can conclude that I need more race miles, it was a hard race but not much harder than it was last year where I felt more comfortable, luckily the top end stuff doesn’t take long to come back and with the improvements in FTP I’ve seen (which does take a fair while to improve) when I’ve got a few races in my legs I hope to be going a fair bit better. Strange was that after the race I almost felt a bit feverish, freezing cold, then really hot, I even soaked the bedsheets with sweat, so either I dug very deep, didn’t drink enough, or had an underlying issue, I don’t know which, but the one thing I do know is that it can only get better, I’m also nearly as light as I’ve been without any particular effort to eat super clean.

Next up is probably a crit down at Preston Park given the Peter Young has been cancelled, then the Wally Gimber, I’ll then attempt to put a decent 25 time against my name with a trip to the Welsh course renowned for being quick, I’ll be aiming for sub 50 with the stretch goal of better our club record, we will see.

One Response to “SERRL – Lamberhurst”

  1. Ed Ashby March 10, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    Good work mate. Sounds like you had about as much fix as I did!

    Sent from my iPhone

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