This weekend was the first Bristol South CC open event of the year. A 25 mile time trial held on the U17.
With sunshine and warm temperatures, this was a huge contrast from just over a month ago for the Severn RC 25, where it was snowing.
I was aiming for as close to an hour as I could get. I rode a 1.03.43 in Febuary, so had some work to do, but was aiming to at least better that time. With temperatures above zero I was in with a chance.
After a painful ride with some adjustment needed to my saddle angle, I’d managed a 1.01.06 I was really pleased with this. With PJs super fast time and Dan Kempe a few seconds behind me, we had got the team prize for Bristol South! I was 11th of 54, nearly a top ten in an open! Dan B was riding his first ever TT and put in strong time on a spinny 90 gear inch.
This was my second 10 of the year. I was aiming for a low 23.
After expecting it to be very wet, the rain stopped for the racing. I went off slightly too hard, then settled into a rhythm as best I could. There was a very strong cross wind, which had a headwind bias on the return, but didn’t feel like much of a push on the way out!
I’ve realised after riding the Severn RC 25 that a 10 mile TT is not actually that far, I know this is fairly obvious! So kept on pushing without trying to save anything for later.
I was really pleased with my 23.09.
The best part of the day was that my grandparents came to watch. Having held club records and 3rd place in a national 50 TT between them, I’ve a lot of catching up to do!
This Sunday at around 9am I arrived at a village hall in Falfield, it was snowing, moments later PJ arrived, he had ridden up!
We were here for the Severn RC 25 mile time trial.
I was struggling to decide what to wear, aero but vaguely warm. I went for base layer shorts and vest, arm warmers, jersey, thermal socks, shoe covers, leg warmers and winter gloves with a skin suit on top. It seemed to be about right apart from my feet and one of my fingers going numb.
I’d not ridden the course before, comprising of the out and back U7B 10, with an added two loops of a circuit bringing it up to the 25.
It was hard, the cold meant it took me about 3 miles to realise there was a strong headwind, this only turned into a tailwind for the last 5 miles, a welcome relief but a little too late to make a massive difference to my average speed.
I came away with a 1.03.43 not too bad for my second 25 mile TT and something to aim to improve on.
It was good to catch up with Ed Pitt and speak to Mike Clark, both riding well in the tough conditions.
After the ride we were rewarded with great cakes and a very warm village hall with an impressive collection of industrial looking heaters.
There was a thick fog on the journey down, but this cleared for the race and the sun came out to play.
It was hard riding hard, I haven’t ridden a TT since July or August last year. But it was good to get the first race done. I rode a 23.57 putting me 20th of 60 riders. PJ rode like a champ as usual and took 3rd place, read his review here. Rob went for cream teas and missed his start time, but still got a ride and posted a really impressive 25.09 which he will most probably smash at his next TT.
With Time Trial season fast approaching, I’ve been busy building a bike ready for this year. I’ve not quite finished collecting all the bits together, but it’s finally looking like a bike.
As with last year I’ll be riding fixed wheel. Part of the delay in sorting a bike was down to the decision of if I should move to a geared bike. I decided to stick with one gear as I really enjoy riding fixed and think I need to get used to utilising the gears on my road bike, before trying gears for time trialling.
My first TT this year is in Frome, with the Frome and District Wheelers holding a 10 mile event, I’ve ridden this course before so have a time to try and beat.
Here is progress so far, I have an adjustable stem on order to try and find the optimum aero position.
I took advantage of being oop North at the weekend to go watch the National Hill Climb and give a bit of support to club members PJ and Glyn.
As I nipped out for breakfast in the morning the Manchester weather was cold and damp, with the incessant drizzle that it seems to hold so close to his heart. Ominous for those attempting to ride extremely fast up a hill. Especially when the hill in question is ‘The Rake’.
The Rake is pretty steep. The event program (a glorious DIY photocopied thing by the host club Lancashire Road Club) gives the key facts of; ‘The Rake climbs 321 feet in 947 yards giving and average gradient of 1 in 8.8′, this translates into new money as averaging around 11 % for 0.9 km. The real savage parts comes with the 20% start and a 25% kick with plenty of tarmac left before the finish line. As you would expect I chose to situate myself just after this part for most of the race, it was good for pain face spotting but also the part where the competitors needed the most encouragement which I duly helped provide. There where plenty of people out despite the inclement weather and it made for a good atmosphere.
I was astounded by the age range of competitors, yes I expected a smattering of juniors and some vets but an age range of 12 – 68 blew my mind a little. Amazing that people of these ages can even ride up the thing but some of the juniors where super quick with James Knox even breaking the top 10!
There were some incredible bikes on show, the majority of people rode carbon road bikes but a few purists where riding fixed (PJ included), this included a Cannondale Track!
Choice of gear for fixed seemed to be in the 54 – 57 range, though the top end of that seemed a little too large. As the excellent commentator, event secretary and winner many moon ago Peter Graham pointed out to PJ as he worked hard through the steepest section ‘He DEFINITELY looks oooverr geaaared thurrrr’.
This beast had a drilled out saddle and shows all the elements of what is generally thought to make a good hill climb bike for the short steep stuff. Single front ring, base bar/bar ends with a tt shifter and weight savings made wherever possible (drillium saddle!). Around 85 psi seemed to be the tyre pressure of choice for keeping traction in the wet conditions.
PJ and Glyn both had excellent rides, carding 02.51.2 and 02.37.5 respectively. Giving them 37th and 8th positions. Cracking ride by all and Glyn finished a long season by breaking the top 10.
The event was won by hot favourite Jack Pullar with a 02.21.3 giving a 5 second winning margin over his closest rival (and defending champion) Gunnar Gronlund with 02.26.0, Matt Clinton rounded out the podium. He was one of the few riders I watched at the finish and his speed over the line took me aback.
The very top is where the brutality of the climb is most evident. I spoke to PJ up there who proclaimed he had ‘gone deep into the death zone’ and kept touching his chest as if to make sure his heart wasn’t going to pop out.
One of my season goals was to go under 23 minutes for a ten mile time trial. I decided this when I kept hovering around low 23′s and then recently I started to worry I might not achieve it.
After three weeks of no TTs due to a heavy cold and rain stopping play, I got back on the bike last week with pretty crap results! The worst of which was having to sit up at nine miles after screaming with pain for the previous two, my core strength was left at the start line.
This week at the VC Bristol TT the conditions were good and I was on for a sub 23 until I had to track stand in the road whilst two tractors turned into a field, oh well!
So the following evening I headed to the Somerset RC TT and posted a 22.30 job done, or not. The course used for the club events is actually 9.8 miles, ahhh!
After waking up this morning feeling pretty tired and achy, my first reaction was not to ride the Dursley RC TT and just rest instead. I took my bike to work anyway to decide later.
With the weather being so hot and the club TTs coming to an end soon, I had to ride!
The conditions tonight were ideal for a fast time and there were a number of pb’s set. The most impressive of which was from PJ with a 20.55 an exclusive club indeed.
I took 59 seconds of my pb with 22.13 so pleased with this time, I even had to stop at the roundabout for a car. I don’t think I’ve ridden without a tail and headwind being involved this year. It felt amazing and my time was closer to the fastest riders than usual, I finished 6th of 24.
Not sure I’ll be beating that anytime soon, unless this weather continues!
2 months ago I rode the Interclub 10 mile TT at Dursley, I came away with a time of 25:07 which was fairly respectable, for one of the first 10 milers I’d ridden. Tonight all 3 of us attended the final Interclub race at Dursley, although only myself & Christian raced, with Ed taking to the sideline as directeur sportif/team driver/photographer.
Since my first attempt at the Dursley course I have changed a bunch of things on my bike, usually in between weekly races at the lake, and my times have slowly been improving. I have swapped my seatpost to an aero carbon job, saving a vital second or two.
I’ve also upgraded my shoe/pedal combo from a flexy MTB set up to a super stiff road combo. My gear inch has slowly grown in the past couple of months too, and tonight I rode on a 101GI, the biggest I feel I could push on a course as undulating as this one. My slack chain is also a talking point.
Now whether all these upgrades have made a difference, or just the fact that my legs have gotten stronger but I did managed to put in a PB at Dursley tonight, albeit by a marginal 10 seconds, from 25:07 to 24:57. I’m happy with the fact that I broke the 25 minute barrier, but in fairness I would like to have gone even faster. But a 14th position overall makes up for this. All of these component upgrades have helped with my progression at the races, and I certainly don’t feel as destroyed after races as I previously did, so I guess I am getting better at this TT thing, I just need to get some more races under my belt & put down some faster times!
Elsewhere out on course tonight, Christian smashed an awesome time of 24:02 on his road bike with TT extensions, you’d have mistaken him for a triathlete if it wasn’t for the presence of his sleeves & socks!
It was the first time he’d ridden the course, ever, so this is an excellent result, real proud of the boy, who will be racing again tomorrow night at Castle Combe for a circuit race.
Friends of the wheelers Sam L & Ed P both continued their domination of the Bristol South TT circuit by coming away with insanely fast times of 22:18 & 22:33 respectively. These guys have been smashing fast times throughout the year & showing us how it’s done.
Sam is too fast to be caught on camera, but he gets a shout out for being first BSCC rider tonight. The conditions were spot on & I’m fairly sure we all took home PBs. Generally another good fun TT, and the last Wednesday night race of the year, hopefully I’ll get to another few races before the season is up, and possibly beat my PB on the Dursley course again. Enough of my rambling, here’s one last picture by Ed of Derek Smetham, the TT bad man who most definitely took the win today with a sub 22 minute ride. Full results from tonight are here.