My form was building nicely going into April and I was hoping to come out of it with points towards the National Clarion Points Competition. There would be two attempts to do this and things didn’t go to plan in either case.
The first weekend of the month was a 25 on the Saturday and the National Clarion Hilly 24 mile hilly TT on the Sunday. I was caught in two minds about whether to take the Saturday easy and save something for Sunday or to just ride it as normal. The weather was good on the Saturday but was expected to be worse on the Sunday so I decided to see how I was going and take it from there. As it was, things seemed to unravel from the start. On J2/9 you start in a quiet country road for a short distance before turning left onto the A535 and then straight into a fast descent before a short but sharp uphill section. At this point I got stuck behind 3 cars behind a rider in front for what seemed like a annoyingly long time. It turned out to be clubmate Chris on his second lap. My frustration translated itself into speed and I flew past him and continued on. It wasn’t long before the next issue, coming out of Seven Sisters Lane onto the A50. A girl in a car overtook me close to the junction and then pulled in front of me and stopped to wait for the traffic, forcing me to a skidding stop! Again the adrenaline kicked in and pushed me on harder than I normally would at that point. In the end I recorded my best ever J2/9 time, winning a tenner as well. 7th from 98, 56:49
I drove with Kate to Llangollen on the Sunday expecting a 24 mile TT over both sides of the Horseshoe Pass. The rear wheel I wanted to use had a last-minute puncture on the Sunday morning so I was forced to put my disc on – with a 23 cassette not an ideal combination for a big hill. I figured I’d make the time up on the rest of the course. Anyway, the long and the short of it was that fog on the tops meant the ride could not take place as planned and it became a hill climb. I didn’t even bother because there would have been no point. A long way to go for nothing – nil point!
On the Tuesday I was off work and rode the VTTA 10 mile TT on J2/1. This was another agonisingly frustrating ride. I was absolutely flying all the way out and back until the Egerton Arms where a rider off 7 minutes before me was riding sat up on the hoods with a queue of cars and an HGV behind him. For over a mile I literally freewheeled behind the traffic. The £7 I won was no consolation as I was sure I was on for my best time on that course. 13th from 72, 23:05
On the Saturday I was due to ride a 25 but on arrival at HQ we were told that there were roadworks, but the organisers would run a 10 instead, which was great as it meant we at least got to ride. The ride was okay but my power seemed down again – maybe 10W off what it should be. 10th from 62, 22:54
The following Wednesday saw the first Seamons club 10 on the new course. It’s a decent enough course and I enjoyed it. My power was back up again and I had a good ride. 2nd from 35, 23:10
On the Thursday and Friday I came down with a heavy cold. I wasn’t going to ride on the Saturday but decided to give it a gentle go. I didn’t get to ride as Chris from the club was involved in a crash with a car and the event was cancelled. Good luck to him in his recovery but a very sobering time.
Next up was the Seamons club 10 on the Wednesday and my power seemed to be back to normal and my cold a distant memory as I rode to a win. 1st from 33, 23:02
I then tapered to my first “A” race of the season – the National Clarion 10 mile TT championship. A long drive to Cambridgeshire saw the weather warm and sunny but blustery. I felt confident and well prepared. As soon as I started I was in trouble. The perceived effort was higher than it should have been and I couldn’t maintain the power I needed to and am capable of. I don’t think it was the N1/10 course, although the number of roundabouts didn’t help with rhythm. By the end of the ride I was very disappointed and cut a forlorn figure as I handed my number back in. I was 4th Clarion which meant only 20 points. 17th from 105, 22:44
The next day I rode the inter-club trophy ride with other club members, competing against two or three other local north west clubs. Again my power was down but I managed to win the event and we won the trophy. 1st from 16(?), 23:46
I was somewhat puzzled as to why my power was down but all was explained after I did a gentle L1 training ride on the Monday evening. By the time I went to bed I was feeling really rough and a sleepless night later, feeling hot and cold, achy and very, very sorry for myself the explanation was clear. So I’m not training or racing now until Saturday 9th March, which means missing two events this weekend, one of which I had a “0” start in. However, for once, I am going to be sensible and wait.
In summary then, as I write this feeling every one of my (nearly) 48 years, I realise I probably need to build a bit more rest into my programme. April saw me ride 391 miles at around 17.3mph average, with 17,600ft of ascent. I used 14,522 kcals and another 5,953 kcals in the additional 8hrs 34m of turbo training I did for a TSS of 1468.