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.
Last night was the 15th & final circuit race in the Castle Combe Summer Series. Being the last race, and being a sunny one, we knew it was going to be fast & everyone would be aiming for high placing & a few vital BC points. I rode along side BSCC team mates Christian, Kieran & Tom, I don’t have anything major to report on my own part, but Tom got 2nd place with a sprint finish & pushed himself up to Cat 2 in his first year of road racing! An outstanding result in a fast race with large number of riders. He admitted he rarely gets in the drops, but even he used them at the end of this race, and it all paid off! Ed was also in attendance to take some snazzy photos.
Christian had decided we were going to go hard from the off, I wasn’t so keen as I’m never strong enough to keep up with his pace, but I had a go anyway, and for the first couple of laps Christian & Tom rode the front of the pack, with myself just behind. My personal goal for this race was to stay towards the front of the bunch as much as I could, and to make sure I was in some sort of position to try & get a good place on the final bunch sprint.
I managed to stick to my goal for pretty much the entire race, doing whatever I could to keep high up in what was the fastest race I’ve taken part in (average speed of 27.4mph!), there were a couple of times I felt I had nothing left in my legs, but I kept it going until the last lap.
When that bell rings for the final lap the mood instantly changes amongst the riders, and you can sense that every rider steps it up a gear with the intention of placing high. I knew that if I had any chance of getting a top 10 finish I would need to stay towards the front & push harder than ever whilst the rest of the riders did the same.
I slowly weaved my way through the snaking pack through the chicanes, and into the final corners I was up in around 7th place, with Tom smashing it in the top 3. I stuck to the right of the pack for the final ‘descent’ into the finishing straight, and put the power down hard, only to be over taken by a number of riders down the left hand side. I went for some sort of sprint finish but this only gained me a couple of places, bringing me within the top 25 I’d say, but it’s hard to judge in such a big race. BSCC got some glory though in the fact that Tom’s solo finish bagged him 2nd place & those all important points. Christian brought up the rear with a puncture gained on the final lap, just 4 days after his best ever result. You win some, you loose some.
I have been slacking with race reports on here of late. For example the fantastic Etape De La Defonce deserves a write up for the quality of the race (try PJ’s instead). I managed to bag points in the TTT, 2nd Road Stage & the GC, tipping me over to 3rd Cat. Maybe I have been spending too much time stretching instead of blogging after riding.
Anyway on to the Okehampton CC Brentor Road Race. This was a 3/4 Cat race on the same course as I had ridden a 2/3/4 stage race earlier in the year (click here and scroll down a bit). Knowing whats around the corners helps so much thats for sure. 4 other members of The South where in attendance (all had ridden the 2/3/4 as well), along with about 46 others from various clubs.
There was a dire forecast, Kierans twitter doom mongering was there to remind us of this. Luckily the weather pretty much held, yes the ground was damp and there was some puddles about but aside from one shower it actually held. Bonus.
Lots of things seemed to accidentally happened. I neglected to check my tire pressure but it was bob on for the conditions, I got in an accidental solo break for a large portion of the race.
Now I say it was accidental but we were firing riders off left right and centre in the early laps. Tom, Kieran and Me all had a go but it kept coming back together for the group to diddle up the climb.
It was accidentally good timing when I finally got away though. The lap after the final prime (lap 5) following the downhill drag I pushed through the rolling kick and got a gap. With no reaction from the bunch I pushed it on a little bit more and rode threshold up the climb. Next time I looked back they were out of sight.
Scenarios start to run through you head, psychologically and tactically it is a big thing to be out of sight. Even better then that when the Commi’s put a car between me and the bunch I knew it was pretty good . I decided to manage my effort as worst case I would get brought back and one of the others could attack. I knew the bunch had been slacking on the downs and going relatively slow up the climb. I rode the climb in the low 90′s of my max HR and most of the rest just below 90. The first time I have properly used my HR monitor in a race, knew it would come in useful at some point….
I crossed the finish line in the lead again on the next lap. At this point I realised the move could actually stick as the rest of the riders where still out of sight. I went to take on my last gel and dropped it, hoping this wasn’t a sign for potential fading energy! A couple of cars snuck onto the course in front of me despite the best efforts of the marshalls as well, I wasted a tiny bit of energy shouting at the drivers, they were moved on rapidly by the lead cars though.
I was joined just after the beginning of the last lap by Andrew Feather, who I knew was a strong rider. He had smoked a lot of people at The Only Way Is Up Road Race so I knew he would do me on the final climb here. When he joined I had a quick word to suggest we share the load which he was receptive to. In reality it was quite even but I did bigger turns on the downhill sections where he was slowing, my interest was in ensuring that this move stayed out. There was a sketchy moment on the final corner where we both nearly went down in a patch of gravel. True to my predictions he rode me of his wheel on the climb, a quick look behind showed I had plenty of a gap to take 2nd!
With a big solo effort involved I was well happy. My results have just kept improving through the season and the rest of the boys commented I had been due a good result. It’s nice to know others had faith in me where I may have been doubting myself slightly.
Lots of things conspired together in this race that meant I got the breaks. It was short race distance, only 37 miles in the end! I had a lot of rest in the week (I was nervous this would hinder me before the weekend, I know long term its not a good plan). I for some reason was given the rope to open up a gap. Tom, Kieran, & Mark patroling the bunch and makign a nusiance of themselves. The team work of Bristol South has been exemplary the season and it’s a real privilege riding with such a good bunch of guys.
To cap it off Tom had come in 8th, chipping away at the points to make 2nd cat. Mark was 11th, knocking on the door of points just again. Kieran came in just behind after a lot of early work, extremely selfless!
I really like the way that as a team we (almost) always look to shape a race rather then waiting for it to take shape. The same happened in the Etape where joining in attacks or creating attacks really worked out for us. Its awesome to see red and gold up the road in races.
Unlike the 2/3/4 race here I was not struggling at the back of the group but riding alone off the front of it, this is testament to how far I have come this season even though it was a lower category race. My personal lap split times where on the whole higher then that race. While 2nd cat is going to be out of touch this year it is definitely something I will aim for next year, I just need to start my charge a bit earlier.
I hit pb’s for two of the three, only missing a third pb, by 5 seconds with a gruesome headwind. I was really happy with the weeks racing and felt good on the bigger gear. I need to keep riding it to increase strength though.
All through the week I was wondering how I was feeling so good and not getting tired. It subsequently hit me this Monday morning when I woke up feeling like crap!
I’m hoping to feel better to ride the Inter Club TT tomorrow night.
Even after attending three events I failed to take a single photo.
This series runs through to August and as I know a couple of the guys from VC I thought I’d head up.
Everyone was really friendly and were quite interested in the fact I was on a fixed gear! There were about 20 or so riders, and with most hardened TTers preferring the Severn Road Club TT on the same night, I was actually in with a chance of winning!
After nearly crashing into a kerb twice on the turn I finished with a time of 23.34, this was enough for the win by 1 second!
I’m going to try and get to this a few more times, as I’m still looking to get under 23 minutes!
Today was the Bristol South CC Open 10. It was up at Dursley on the U7B, the same course that the recent Inter Club TT was held. I was looking forward to riding the course on my bigger 103 gear inch, having previously found the 96 not quite enough, I was hoping to go under the 23 minute mark.
The morning started off with a tyre change, there were a few gashes and holes appearing on my front tyre so I felt it was time for a new one. The pink striped version was nearly half the price of the grey option, so a few hipster points were added at the same time.
As with most occasions when I approach my bike with the intention of a quick bit of tinkering, something inevitably goes wrong. This morning it was my valve extender, blowing into three pieces. After kicking the tyre box and gently pushing the wheel across the room, in a really annoyed but don’t want to break anything style, I headed out to the nearest bike shop to grab a replacement.
Once my kit was packed I headed off with plenty of time to spare. Upon arriving at the usual meeting point, I noticed a distinct lack of bikes, cars with bikes in and people. In fact I was the only person there, a bit weird considering there was a 50 plus field for the race.
After checking the start sheet email, it turned out the HQ was at a nearby village hall. Feeling slightly rushed, but actually with plenty of time to spare, I got myself ready and headed out to the start.
There was talk of a head wind on the way out. This did not excite me at all. I wondered what else I would get wrong to go with my valve and location mishaps.
The ride out to the turn at the roundabout was tough, I was really struggling against the wind and watched my average speed tumble until I gave up looking at it. As I approached the roundabout two cars came from the right and I pretty much had to stop before I could pull out, something that I completely forgot had happened, but probably cost only a few seconds.
If only that was the thing that slowed me down. Today the wind well and truly destroyed me and I posted a time over a minute slower than at the Inter Club.
For the faster riders such as PJ who walked away with the win! The wind was not a problem, he blasted through it and then powered home with the tailwind, to post a time only a few seconds off his pb. I gave PJ a lift home as he’s racing a hilly TT tomorrow, it’s always good to hear about his experience of the race and all the other racing he does on a regular basis.
As I’m lying here on the sofa writing this my arms are aching. This has just reminded me, that apart from the wind, my main problem was my arms aching a huge amount throughout the whole race after only a few miles.
Since riding the 103 gear inch, my upper body has had to do so much more in terms of stabilising myself due to using more power when pushing the bigger gear. On Wednesday at the lake my stomach muscles were hurting and today my position just felt terrible.
I think it’s due in part to moving further forward on the saddle to be in a more powerful position and so my arms are too bent and taking too much weight. This is something I need to work on!
It was worth the pain of the racing for the selection of cake afterwards!
I drove over after work as otherwise I don’t think I’d be able to get there on time. The weather was looking crap, but when is it anything else at the moment!
I didn’t really have a time to aim for as although the course is 8.24 miles its fairly lumpy. This meant I couldn’t get away with riding fixed as easily as the previous weeks visits to the U7B and UC115
I set off slightly slower than usual, as there’s a hill to climb out of a junction, which means a slow out the saddle grind to get up it.
After letting out a small yelp as I reached the top I then settled back into a rhythm. This lasted about a minute as I progressively got slower and slower, and barely managed to keep the pedals turning. The section from Chew Stoke to West Harptree is pure doom.
Coming out of the junction to head to Bishops Sutton the driver in front of me didn’t seem to know where they were going. I tugged on the brake and pedalled slowly behind them, they decided to turn off and I stomped on the pedals to get going up to speed again.
The last two corners are both tight and in quick succession, I lost speed here also as there was a lot of loose gravel on the road which looked very slippery.
My final time was 21.24 with an average speed of 23.1 mph. I was actually quite pleased with this, as I think it’s about 2 minutes faster than I did last year. This shows how much difference a few aero bits and a much bigger gear can make!
It was good to see Jamie from Headset Press making it out to ride his first TT, this course was also my first taster of time trialling last year.
Due to PJ not being able to make it and Andy riding his third choice bike, I managed to post the third fastest time of the evening. The times are here good work from Sam who’s aim was to go under 20 minutes, which he absolutely smashed with ease!
Hopefully next week Tim will be racing again and the weather will be a bit better at last!
Tomorrow is the last of the Aust races in the Bristol South CC Classic League. The series then hops up to the U7B for the inter club 10 and then heads down to chew valley lake.
I originally set a target of going under 12 minutes. My best time so far is 12.10 using an 88 gear inch. Tonight I’ve fitted a new chainring, up from a 50 tooth to a 55. This gives a 96 gear inch. I’m not sure how well, or if this will improve my time at all. I may just be left churning away all on my own, whilst everyone else has finished and are long gone. I suppose it’s only 8 inches bigger and so should not be too hard to turn. I’m pretty new to Time Trialling and cycling in general, so it’s just a case of see what happens.
I’ll be testing out the new ratio on the commute to work tomorrow morning. I’m sure every slight incline will feel like a mountain, great fun. Perhaps I should leave slightly earlier than normal.