St. Ives weekly club time trial
Popped down to Sawtry this evening to ride the St. Ives CC weekly ’10’. I want to get more experience of racing, and on the local N1/10 course in particular, so it makes sense to try and attend this event if possible. However I turned up to find that this week the race would be 15 miles, and on a slightly different course! I’d spent a little while thinking about how I was going to approach certain parts of the course, having analysed the data I have from my race on Saturday and the training run I did on Sunday. So it was a bit of a surprise to find out that I would be racing on new ground and over a distance I haven’t done before.
With hindsight I think this was no bad thing, I had no clue how I was going to ride the course and though I have ridden over all the roads on it, I’d never really paid attention to some parts. About 50% of the course was run on roads that are part of the 10 course that I have been racing on, though we were riding in reverse (starting off heading south instead of north). So I didn’t really feel under any pressure to finish in X minutes as I would have if we were riding on the usual 10 course. I spoke to one or two of the other guys who had entered, and they said to just ride it like a 10 and hang on for the extra 5 miles! So that’s what I planned to do. It’s been pretty windy tonight, from the north west out on the course. So there would be a cross-tailwind going out and a cross-headwind coming back. After a reasonably good warmup I started number 22 at 1922. There had been no drama, no superglue incidents, and plenty of time to warmup and get to the start. I was relaxed. Good times.
My plan for the 10 was to try and stick as close to 300 watts as possible on the way out. I’d observed from looking at the data that it’s necessary to go out hard if you want a decent time. I’ve been tending to hold back a bit to make sure I can finish strongly, but I think that’s the wrong approach. If you’re slow in the first half, you’ll likely never get it back. Better to go hard and suffer towards the end. I decided to adopt the same approach. The first few miles were easy enough, the tailwind meant I was making pretty good speed, and the course was reasonably flat. There’s a long drag up to the turn which is much bigger than any hill on the 10 course. I felt I was making good progress, I had passed 3-4 riders who started before me, and hadn’t been passed myself by anyone. I was held up at the turn a bit by a large lorry, but I’d gone quite quickly to the turn, averaging 26.4mph and reaching the halfway point in 17:11. Power is a little disappointing, 282 watts for the first half, I was hoping to get it closer to 300. This was with a favourable wind, however, but the big hill up to Alconbury was now behind me, and I’d be going down it on the return leg.
As soon as I turned, though, I felt the wind. It was not only in my face, but also pushing me from side to side. Not sure why, but there was no noticeable lateral effect in the out leg. It was sometimes quite difficult to keep the bike under control. I passed a few more riders on the way back, and reached Sawtry quite quickly. I’d covered over 10 miles by this point, but the horrible drag after the Sawtry roundabouts, my least favourite feature of the 10 course, was still to come. It’s 2 miles long and pretty much a steady, but comparatively gentle, climb. The data shows that I covered the last 2 miles in 4:47 at 318 watts. I think this is too high, really, I need to learn to go harder earlier, so I’m falling off the bike in the last section, not hammering along. I crossed the line in 35:12 and having averaged 25.8 mph, which I was pretty pleased with. The average speed is higher than either of my two previous races, even though the race was 50% longer. It’s not on exactly the same course, but similar, so I reckon that’s an improvement. Average power wasn’t great, at 286 watts, but perhaps I metered it out better?
I cycled back to the HQ among a few other riders. A short while later the timekeeper returned with the results. I’d come 3rd out of 35 riders. Not bad! Only by 1 second to the chap in 4th place, though! So it’s obvious that every single turn of the pedals, every ounce of effort counted to get that 3rd place. The same rider had also raced in both my 10s and had beaten me in each, by 28 and 26 seconds respectively. So I think perhaps I have progressed a little.
Thanks for reading 🙂