Hi again. Before I get onto the real subject of the post, a quick note about the title change. We spent our summer holiday this year in the Limousin, a region of central France. I took my bike with me and went out most days. Whilst there I happened to notice that the Tour du Poitou-Charentes was passing reasonably close, and the individual time trial was about an hour’s drive from where we stayed. Looking at the list of riders taking part, I saw the names of Mark Cavendish and Alex Dowsett. Dowsett in particular is a hero of mine and so it was an easy decision to make the trip to watch the race.
That’s when I first came across the term Contre-La-Montre. It’s French for ‘against the watch’ and it’s their term for time trial. I thought “what a cool-sounding phrase”. So there you go, that’s why I decided to change the blog title. It’s taken me a few months to get around to it. Probably most fans of TTing are well aware of this phrase, but of course I am a Johnny-cum-lately to the sport; I only started paying attention to it when Wiggins won the Olympic TT, so I’m the cycling equivalent of the Manchester City fans who have appeared by magic on high streets up and down the land in recent years.
By the way, Sylvain Chavanel won the TT (or Sylvain-ah Chhhhhaaaaavaneellll as the commentator at the race pronounced it, every 30 flippin’ seconds for 3 hours). Here’s a terrible photo I took on my iPhone of the victor:
Nice bike, Scott Plasma Di2.
The main thing I wanted to mention in this post is the Tour of Cambridgeshire, announced today. It’s taking place on the weekend of the 6th/7th June 2014 and consists of a 16 mile TT on the Saturday, followed by an 82 mile “Gran Fondo” (sportive) on the Sunday. Both with closed roads. This is a very big deal for me. The start and finish of the events is at the East of England Showground, which right in front of where I live. I can see the arena from my bedroom window. I have entered both events, but I’m most interested in the TT. I won’t be competing for the £1500 first prize, or indeed any of the prizes, but I reckon a lot of good riders will show up and I like to race against the best. I heard this morning that one multiple national champion is planning to ride, so I bet other top riders will too.
I heard about the event a couple of months ago. I sometimes ride with local legend Malcolm Smith on the Kinetic Velo club rides and he mentioned to me that he was involved in organising the event. It captured my imagination straight away. Start and finish in an arena, starting on a proper ramp. Chip timing. Closed roads, the roads I know well. A lot of the course runs on a lane called Bullock Road. That’s where I go to do my hardest training sessions. So I have plenty of time to prepare and think about how best to ride the course. I can go into tiny detail as to how hard to ride the climbs, where to recover, search out the sheltered sections, find the best line through corners. I can’t wait. I’m going to make it my main season goal for 2015. I want to be the best I can be on that day. I’ll probably get a puncture.
In other news, I’ve entered a race this Saturday. It’s the Farnborough & Camberley Christmas 10. For some reason I keep reading that as Farnborough & Cranberry. Anyway, I entered because there was quite a lot of banter on the TT forum about it and I fancied it. I discussed it with Matt and he said “go for it”. We’ve made a position change and I would like to test it in a competitive environment at the earliest opportunity before I commit to the work necessary to properly train into it over the winter. I’ve also made some equipment changes to my bike (ostensibly new bars and tyres) and I’m keen to see how I go with those too. It’s experimental. I will be trying as hard as possible of course, but I don’t have any great expectations. There’s a lot of riders down to race who are faster than me. So I will write a report on the race probably at the back end of the weekend.