St. Ives CC 10 mile time trial
Before we go any further, I must get one thing off my chest. GARMIN, YOU COMPLETE SET OF BASTARDS. Will revisit a bit later in the post.
Today was my big day. The St. Ives CC ’10’, held on the Sawtry ‘N1/10’ course. This is the event I identified as the first open time trial I would ride, the one I have been training towards. I turned up at the event HQ, nice and early, at 1pm. Event started at 2pm, though my start time was 2:19pm. The car park was already full! So much for being early. I’d received an email earlier in the week with the starting list, so I knew I was number 19. Riders go off at 1 minute intervals, starting at 2:01pm, hence my start time was 2:19pm. I signed the sheet, picked up my number and pinned it to my skinsuit. I didn’t know any of these people, so I didn’t feel too self conscious walking around in a skinsuit that leaves little to the imagination. I wanted to get a good half hour warm-up in, so after getting changed I set off to amble around the local roads. After this, a quick piddle at the HQ and then off to the start line with a few minutes to spare. At the line were the two riders immediately before me, and a couple of those starting immediately afterwards. I slotted into the queue. Unfortunately number 17 fell off at the start, but he quickly climbed aboard again and set off. Start times are not delayed by this, you start on the allotted minute. Number 18 was off and then I found myself standing with the starters. One chap held me while I clipped in, and reset the lap timer on the (bastard) garmin, then I got the 10 second warning, 5-1 countdown and then off. I’d set myself the internal target of going under 25 minutes, for which I’d need to average 24mph. Could I live up to that?
On Thursday night I had ridden a 10 mile simulation on my turbo, to try to gauge the watts I should be aiming for. I managed to average 280 watts, so I decided to aim for an average of 275 watts throughout the race until the last mile, then give it as much as I had to the finish. I set off below this figure, around 240-250 watts for the first couple of minutes, since that’s what you’re supposed to do to avoid filling the legs with lactic acid and having to back off. My left contact lens fell out after about half a mile, but it didn’t affect me much because my eyes were streaming and I couldn’t see much anyway. I could make out the average power and 3 second power readings on the computer, which was all I really needed. The weather was really nice today, with a mild tailwind for the first half. I managed to pass number 18 after about 2 miles, and passed number 17 (who had earlier fallen off) right before the turn at 5 miles. I was surprised that number 20 had not passed me by the turn. Based on previous performances and my own expected level – I’d expected to him pass me around 3 miles or so. I didn’t have long to wait, he swooped by me about a half mile after the turn, his rear disc wheel whooshing as it cut the air. Impressive! Want one! I’d mentally prepared myself not to try and chase him, but in all honesty it wasn’t possible anyway. I was going ok, but beginning to struggle to hang on. The course is not a fast one, so I’m told, and you really notice the undulations. In the next couple of miles I passed a couple of other riders who seemed not to be trying, maybe they’d had a problem or something. Then I came into the series of roundabouts that mark the final mile or so of the course. I glanced down at the average wattage and saw 275 watts. On target. I couldn’t make out the elapsed time, or the average speed, I just tried to up the pace a little, but in reality I had very little left by this point. This is good, because it means I had paced it quite well. If you have enough left for a proper sprint finish, you haven’t gone fast enough. I rounded the last bend and saw the timekeepers and tried to give it whatever I had left, but I didn’t put on much speed, just rocked about a bit as you do when you’re all up.
I’d set the garmin to autolap at 10 miles, and it bleeped just as I passed the timekeepers. I looked down, blinking, to try and see the time. 23:32! I’d gone nearly as fast as I managed on the flat turbo ride on Thursday night. Faster than I’d dared to hope I could go. I didn’t care to look at any of the other data, I just slowed down and rode round the designated route – a mile or so – back to the HQ. On getting back to my car I stopped the garmin, but crucially did not reset the timer. I went and got changed, had a coffee and a slice of banana cake, then tried to earwig the conversations of the organisers to see where I had come in the field. I figured with that time I might have made the top half! I heard them say my name and then 23:39, so I’d lost 7 seconds somehow. Oh well, the only time that counts is the timekeeper’s. After a while the results started to be posted on the board outside. The fastest riders are given the numbers 10,20,30 etc, followed by the next fastest who get the 5, 15, 25 etc. In the first 25 or so, I’d only been beaten by the 10s and 5s, which was encouraging. When the last set of results went up, I scanned down the list, counting the number of times that were faster than mine. There were 10. So I’d finished 11th out of 50.
Chuffed with that!
Number 20, Mick Hodson, who had passed me just after the turn, sought me out after the race to say he thought I’d ridden well, and looked good on the bike (in terms of my pedalling and position!). That was nice to hear. He was pleased as he’d managed to beat the great Ian Cammish, a proper legend in the time trial fraternity and starting at number 30 today, by a second. Mick finished 4th on 22:01.
I got home to download the data from the ride – my first ever serious race, and first outdoor ride with recorded power – to find it wasn’t there! Argh! Google quickly told me that there is an issue with the Edge 500 if you forget to to reset the garmin before you turn it off (or it turns itself off). This is the first time I’ve ever lost a full ride of data on any GPS device I’ve ever used, and it turns out to be the most important ride I’ve ever done 😦 I could have amused myself with endless hours of analysis, but now literally all I have is the time. But then if before the race you’d offered me that time and finishing position in return for losing all data, I’d have taken your hand off 🙂