October Roundup

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I’m now well into my proper training blocks getting myself ready for next years time trial season so I’m back on the turbo for a significant amount of time.  The goal is to gradually increase my CTL over the next few months so that I’m heading into the season with it above 80.

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In between I’ve ridden ‘cross races.  At Heaton Park on the 3rd I placed 64th from 170 riders and at Westmorland the next day I was 32nd from 94.  The following week, I managed to fit in the National Clarion Hill Climb, coming 6th Clarion on Blackstone Edge, and on the 11th I was back on the I struggled a bit at Landgate Quarry to come in 40th from 116 riders.  At Bebington Oval on the 17th I felt strong but started from the back to finish 45th from 135 riders.  A week later at Pignut Hill on the 24th I started to feel like I knew what I was doing for the first time and I was rewarded with 25th place from 115.  Today at Otterspool Park I again felt like I was making progress – hopefully when the results come out they will reflect that (edit – 32nd from 125).

Overall during the month I rode 370 miles, with 17,733ft of climbing at an average speed of around 14.1mph (CX racing!).  I used 16,459kcals of energy, with another 11,064kcals during 16hrs and 10mins of turbo time.  Total training stress was 2412TSS


Cyclocross – Half Term Report!

4/10 – see me after class…

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I’ve now completed a grand total of 6 cyclocross races and my intention is to do another 6 before the end of the year, so it feels like an opportune time to take stock.  So far, 4 of the courses have been mainly dry and grassy, one has been a mixture of landfill and boggy moorland and the last one, at Northwich, was wet and grassy with a side order of mud.  I’ve no idea if that is representative or not, but when you lack technical skills it’s quite enough thank you!  What has surprised me most is the number of people taking part.  The races I’ve been in have ranged from 90-odd riders to 170-odd, which leads to an interesting experience.  For example, if you aren’t near the front at the start, you aren’t likely to get to the technical sections near the front, which means you lose even more time.  It then becomes a race within a race with the riders around you.  In addition, fitness and power isn’t everything.  It clearly helps, but I find that I am losing out to technically better riders because they can pick more efficient lines and are faster over the obstacles.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve ridden past riders on open sections only to see them whizz past me on tricky descents or because they can remount their bikes whilst actually running (I can’t!).  The obvious answer is more practice but that doesn’t fit with my longer term goals so it would be a waste of time.

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Things I’ve learned/confirmed

1) I don’t look forward to the races like I do for TT’s.  I’m okay once it’s started

2) The first 20 minutes is harder than it should be, primarily because I don’t warm up properly!

3) I don’t like riding in a big bunch.  174 riders is too many!

4) Some other riders believe they have better handling skills than they actually have. That makes me even more nervous

5) Lower tyre pressures seem to be better

6) Any obstacles where I have to get back on the bike after getting off will lose me time

7) Soggy or muddy ground tires people quicker – better for me I find

8) Whilst the times I’ve fallen off haven’t really hurt, they have knocked the wind out of my sails for about a lap.  I don’t like falling off

9) Cleaning both me and bike can take longer than the actual racing – anyone that likes that is just plain wrong!

10) I don’t know if I’ll be doing it again next year, but never say never!

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Feeling Nostalgic!

Nostalgia is a funny old thing.  You can go for ages without thinking about the past and then something can bring it all flooding back.  I’ve been reminiscing about a lot of things recently and I started thinking about bikes I have owned.  I expect lots of people have a similar list.

First bike

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I can’t really remember much about this except I remember at the age of 3 or 4 being absolutely thrilled when the stabilisers were taken off and I learned to ride it.  The hill on the street where we used to live was a gentle slope not very big at all, but back then it was perfect for riding down as fast as you could.  There weren’t many cars about either so the street was fair game for bike riding, football and all manner of other games.  In those days, we knew pretty much all the kids from the local area, and much like pet dogs, we were kicked out of the house in the morning and told to go and play.

Raleigh Tomahawk

I really, really, really wanted a Chopper but I wasn’t big enough.  In the early 70’s if you weren’t big enough for a Chopper then your choice extended to a Chipper or a Tomahawk.  The Tomahawk was like a miniature version of the Chopper so I went for that, and mine was purple if I recall correctly, and my next door neighbour had a red one.  It had no gears and was basically a deathtrap, which coupled with my lack of sense as a child would lead to my first real bike crash.  Inspired by Evil Knievel a group of us built a ramp in our cobbled back entry.  The ramp consisted of a pile of bricks we’d scavenged and a plank of wood maybe 4 inches wide.  The ramp was too narrow, the bricks were unstable and the angle was too steep.  After several attempts where we rode at it and missed (knocking the bricks over) I managed to hit the ramp perfectly! Up the ramp I went and the tiny front wheel of the Tomahawk rolled almost vertically down off the end of the ramp sending me over the handlebars.  Physics was clearly not our strong point (along with construction and health and safety).  I don’t know what I landed on but I had an H-shaped imprint cut into my leg which scarred and was visible for years afterwards.  After a while, and possibly after being left out in the rain, the chrome mudguards started to rust and I either tired of the bike or outgrew it or both.

Raleigh Commando

This was my first bike with gears.  I think it was a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub activated by a twist-grip mechanism.  It was fantastic.  For about 10 minutes, and then became difficult and unresponsive.  That caused my second crash.  That and riding no-handed whilst eating a bag of crisps.  Anyway, I was riding no-handed eating a bag of beef and onion crisps.  I think they were Golden Wonder, but they could have been Smiths.  I don’t think Walkers had been invented then.  The Commando, complete with army markings (black paint with corporal stripes), was not the most stable bike and it should have come as no surprise to me that the front wheel turned suddenly to the left.  Holding my crisps in my left hand I grabbed the handlebar with my right and accidentally shifted the gears.  This resulted in going from a hard gear to an easy gear which threw me forward as my legs spun quicker.  The bike hit the kerb and I went forward and off knee-first.  The resulting cut took ages to heal and I still have the scar to this day.  Happy days.

Peugeot 5-speed Racer

My first “proper” bike, it had 24 inch wheels, a 5 speed derailleur and was purple with tan-wall tyres, and we used to race around the streets, the cobbles and the back entries.  It was de-rigeur to pull a back-wheel skid when stopping and puddles were meant to be ridden through

Peugeot 10-speed Racer

This one had 26 inch wheels and was a silver colour.  I loved that bike and it used to get me all over the place.  I even remember carrying a full set of golf clubs once, whilst riding from my house to the golf course.  I don’t know what happened to that bike.

Motobecane BMX Cross Bike

Thanks to forums.velovert.com

Around this time (late 70’s/early 80’s) BMX was becoming something and I saw this bike in our LBS.  I’ve no idea how or why they had it but it was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.  It was bright red, had front and rear suspension, a big front lamp with a rally style grill on it and DRUM BRAKES!  I remember my dad asking what I wanted for Christmas and me saying I’d like that bike.  I still had my Peugeot so I thought he’d just say no, but to my absolute surprise he didn’t.  So I got a second bike.  We lived in a terraced house and the bikes went in the hall, so there wasn’t much room!  This was a fantastic bike – it was heavy and agricultural but the suspension was brilliant!  I used to ride it over as much bumpy ground as I could find.  I was still lacking in common sense and a fundamental misunderstanding of mechanics and physics though, which lead to another crash.  One the routes I used to ride to visit my gran and granddad involved three steep steps in a narrow guinnel that immediately turned 90 degrees right.  I rode my Motobecane down the steps and was somewhat surprised when the front suspension compressed at the bottom and my momentum took me head first over the bars and into the wall that formed the 90 degree turn.  There was no wearing of helmets then so I simply rubbed the large bump on my head and got back on.  Probably explains a lot.  It was when I ruined the bike that I lost interest in it.  The drum brakes squeaked so being an idiot I squirted some oil in.  That solved the problem but unsurprisingly stopped the brakes working, and they were never the same again.

There followed a long gap until my next bike.

Kona Lava Dome 1993

I decided I would re-establish my relationship with bikes and bought this mountain bike to ride to and from work and at weekends.  I used it primarily to do a 14 mile commute and then assorted rides up and down hills at weekends.  I stopped using it when a) I changed jobs and b) the kids came along.  It would be over 10 years until I next rode a bike and started this blog…

Happy times!


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Over the last two seasons, a combination of gradual detraining during the season, added to a build-up of fatigue, mean that I have never performed well in September.  This year though, as well as a period of illness earlier in the season, an early holiday meant that I came into September feeling relatively fresh, and my races towards the end of August certainly reflected that.

On the first Saturday of the month I travelled down to Etwall to ride only my second ever 100M TT, mainly along the fast A50 on A100/4.  I wasn’t at all confident how to pace the race, or how to manage my nutrition and fluid intake, so I settled on a power figure that was a proportion of my FTP and decided to ride that.  At the start I noticed quite a few riders passing me but I resisted the temptation to ride after them.  Weather wise I got lucky in that there was no rain, and the wind was not a major factor apart from a couple of crosswind sections that required concentration.  I must have paced it pretty well because I still had something left for the last 10 miles and was able to pick up the pace a bit, rather than hanging on, so overall I was pleased with the way I rode it but probably could have eeked a bit more out.  36th from 106, 03:52:14 

A week later I was back down to the other end of the A50 at Blythe Bridge for the Stone Wheelers 25 on J5/8.  It’s a popular event, well organised and a fast course which attracts fast riders.  I was pretty delighted with my performance, and even though it wasn’t a PB it was a CB by some margin.  21st from 128, 53:16

The next day was a very early start to get back down to D25/8e for the WCTTCA 25.  I like this course, although it can be unforgiving as it’s very exposed.  It was another beautiful September morning and whilst cold, was relatively benign.  Although my legs were still suffering from the day before I was pleased to actually maintain the same power output and managed to win some money (£9!) for coming in 5th.  5th from 68, 56:24

A week later and it was the last TT for me of the season, the Seamons 25.  This was the last race of the Cheshire points series so I wanted to do well to try to elevate myself into the top ten, despite not completing the full number of qualifying events.  It was another nice day and felt fast to me.  I was well prepared for this and delivered a 25 mile power PB and a J2/9 CB, despite being held up several times on what is a narrow course.  In addition I won £30 under the one-rider-one-prize rule, coming 4th overall, 3rd on handicap and 2nd veteran.  4th from 72, 55:42

The day after saw me try my first cyclocross race, which you can read about here.  I managed to come 34th from 154 riders (154!) which I was pretty pleased with given I had no real clue what I was doing!

Overall during the month I rode 483 miles, with 17,504ft of climbing at an average speed of around 18.4mph.  I used 17,692kcals of energy, with another 4,542kcals during 7hrs and 15mins of turbo time.  Total training stress was 1474TSS.

Believe it or not, September was my “rest” month and I’ve now started my new training plan for 2016, which is a month earlier than last year as I think my body is getting used to the training load I’ve been placing on it, so it’s time to push the envelope a bit more.  Hopefully results will follow.

First Cyclocross Race

On Saturday I rode my final TT of the season, achieving a course best 55:42 for J2/9, and 4thoverall.  On Sunday I rode my first ever cyclocross race at Leverhulme Park in Bolton.  This was the second round of the NWCCA series that takes place for the next few months around the north-west.  I was pretty nervous leading up to it so I thought I’d get there well ahead of the 12-45pm start time to have a look around and try to see what was what.  The place was already full with kids races in full swing.  I have to say the kids looked like they had a ball and were really going for it – very impressive stuff.  I was told that the course wasn’t very technical and would be a good one to start on.  It looked reasonably technical from my perspective but that perspective generally involves riding very fast on flat roads in essentially a straight line, turning at a roundabout and doing the same back!  So I signed on and got my pack for the season – you keep your number and timing chip for the whole shebang – and headed back to get my bike.  There were lots of people with multiple wheels, tyres and even bikes and some warming up on rollers.  There were quite a few in skinsuits which surprised me, as I thought you needed to be going >25mph to get any real aero benefit?  Anyway, I did a couple of practice laps which got my heartrate up a bit, but my legs felt slightly heavy from the day before.  I went and chatted to Giles at the start-line and before long was surrounded by a huge number of riders as they gathered for the start.  154 to be precise!  When you are used to starting on your own at one minute intervals it’s a bit of a shock!  The commissaire gave some last minute instructions and then the whistle went.

We were off in an almighty sprint up a long, open grass section.  I held back slightly as I wanted to see what the form was before getting in anyone’s way but soon realised if I did I’d get swamped.  At the end of the open section there was a slightly damp/muddy section and then a sharp right into a narrow section through some trees.  The course then arced back round on itself, down and up some dips and rises before we headed to some steps.  I was able to approach and dismount and run up the steps pretty quickly, surprising myself that I overtook some riders as I did.  Reality intervened as they all then went past me as I struggled to get back on and start pedalling in anything even remotely like a fluid movement.  This was repeated on subsequent laps (note to self, learn to get on my bike running).  Up another incline and then sharp right and down snaking through and past trees, rattling my teeth as we bounced over the protruding roots.  Several times people were bumping and nudging the back of my bike – I’ve no idea if that was their lack of skill or mine!  We then looped back up towards the finish line and then through a few grass switchbacks before zipping off through some more trees and then dropping steeply into a wood, hard on the brakes to make the 90 turn at the bottom and then climb back out again.  Up onto the grass and out into the open again before zipping into some long grass which just sapped any speed completely.  Back onto the grass for the second lap!  I was knackered!

What I did find was that on the long grass bits I could make a lot of ground up, passing a lot of people and being able to power past them.  On the “technical” bits I got caught quite a lot, but I was really only trying to understand how far I could push my handling skills.  It didn’t take long before I was overcooking some bits and nearly hitting trees!  Anyway, the constant up and down of the efforts, sprinting out of corners and up bankings started to take its toll on my single-paced tester’s fitness, and I got slower and slower as the laps went on.  And there is no pack to hide in either to get a breather.  It’s very definitely a different type of fitness.  By the end I was hanging on and we only raced for 49 minutes!   I came 34th  which I’m pretty pleased with for a first effort and I think I can probably improve on that – although probably less so when it all gets a bit more technical!

Some interesting contrasts between my two weekend races – Cyclocross first.

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Then time-trial.

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Race time – Saturday 55:42, Sunday 49:36

Distance – Saturday 25M, Sunday 10.6M

Average Speed – Saturday 27mph, Sunday 12.9mph

Elevation gain – Saturday 522ft, Sunday 335ft

Average/Maximum HR – Saturday 173bpm/181bpm, Sunday 179bpm/188bpm

Strava suffer score – Saturday 46, Sunday 71

I was in my threshold HR zone on Sunday for 4x longer than in my TT, which is leading me to question whether, all things being equal, I could squeeze more power out during a TT?  All very interesting and promising as a means of increasing my fitness over winter whilst having a bit of fun too!  Roll on the next one in two weeks.

Cycle-Cross in Calderdale

Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 16.57.59 Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 16.58.16

Spent an awesome couple of hours with Giles riding the trails around Hebden Bridge.  Although I’ve done loads of road-riding in the area, we went up and down paths, trails and roads I’d not been on before, with me only getting my bearings as we criss-crossed familiar main roads.

I got a lesson in bike handling skills as I watched Giles disappear off up rocky ascents as I struggled to make traction, realising it’s far harder climbing off-road than on, and that I needed to sit down to keep my back wheel grip.  What was worse was watching him disappear even further off down the descents – I’m pretty rubbish if truth be told, and despite being confident that I have the power and the engine to compete in cyclocross, I have nowhere near good enough bike skills.  Still, it’s great fun and I’m looking forward to it.  Here’s our ride compressed into 3 minutes

Ride stats : 26.6 miles in 2hrs 26m at 10.9mph average.  3,000ft of ascent, 1504 kcals used, average HR 124bpm

Strava ride here


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I managed a few gentle training rides in Lanzarote at the start of August (see previous post) and arrived back feeling rested but slightly unfit. And two days later it was the National Clarion Road Race at York Arena.  That was great fun and it was really successful for North Cheshire Clarion, taking 1st, 2nd, 4th and 7th for myself.

The day after was Manchester Wheelers Hilly TT, a 20.5M loop round the Peak District.  I took the TT bike which was fine for going up the hills, but terrifying going down, especially in breezy conditions and on winding descents.  In fact my nervousness probably cost me a prize.  4th from 37, 58:35

On the Wednesday was the final Seamons Club 10 of the year, and I enjoyed another good ride in sunny conditions which attracted a large field.  2nd from 50, 22:41

The following Saturday was my third 50 of the season.  I’d normally done a few more by this stage and I was a bit nervous given my fitness levels.  As it was the ride went like a dream and I felt really comfortable, with a power PB and clocking my best time for J4/16, although there was a stellar field with some of the best amateurs in the country riding.  16th from 108, 01:56:14

The midweek ride at Rainford was cancelled due to the weather so my next ride was Withington Wheelers 10 at J2/1 the following Saturday.  I needed a decent ride here as I won’t get the full 10 rides in for the Cheshire points series, so need to pick up as many as I can in this and the final qualifying race in September. As it was I rode a course best time but it could have been quite a bit quicker due to traffic hold-ups and needing to unclip twice.  I’m not sure I like J2/1 – I always seem to get something holding me up.  11th from 83, 00:22:06

Rainford on the Wednesday threatened rain again, but it held off.  For some reason I felt really strong, and put down my best 10M average power and narrowly missed a “21”.  4th from 30, 22:00

In between races I tried a bit of cycle-cross riding, as I’ll be racing this autumn/winter.  Here’s a bit of video of me – first one is a short version


The final Sunday of the month saw me riding at D25/8e early in the morning.  It meant getting up at 5-30am and driving an hour and a half to Tilstock.  As I didn’t warm up on the turbo (an extra half hour in bed seemed favourable!) I knew the first 5 miles would be horrible.  And they were, my legs feeling heavy and slow. For a change on D25/8e the conditions were calm and I started to get stronger and stronger and managed another power PB.  I’d had decent results here with 57 and 58 minute times so when I crossed the line in my course just under 55 minutes I thought I might do well.  It was good enough for my first open podium finish, fastest veteran and £15 prize money.  I was absolutely delighted, and it was nice to finish the month with 4 successive course bests and new power bests at 10M, 25M and 50M.  3rd from 96, 54:59

August saw me ride 654 miles, with 31,523ft of climbing at an average speed of around 17.4mph.  I used 24,461kcals of energy, with another 3,392kcals during 4hrs and 18mins of turbo time.  Total training stress was 2,062TSS.

Cycling in Lanzarote

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I was allowed to hire a bike for two lots of 3 days on our holiday to Lanzarote (thanks Liz!) and so I contacted Revolution Bikes who were absolutely brilliant.  I’d highly recommend these guys – they are so helpful and the bike, a carbon Planet X, was great.  I did some research and came up with six routes prior to leaving.  A quick check with Revolution and I had to amend all of them – many of the roads I’d chosen were dirt tracks, even though they appear on google maps. So my first tip is stick to roads labelled LZnnn – and more than likely you’ll be fine.  Or check out my routes on strava – apart from when I went wrong or the mapping software played up a bit they are fine.  I’d last been to Lanzarote in 2003 and travelled the island in a hire car. I couldn’t remember it being hilly, and it isn’t alp-like, but it’s rarely flat.  I’d classify it as rolling.  The biggest hills are maybe 1,500ft, but the prevailing northerly wind is hard work!  Unless you are heading south, there are few free rides in Lanzarote.  It’s ideal for training.

Here’s the whole 340 or so miles I rode in a little under a minute!


Day 1 – I elected for a shortish route from my Puerto del Carmen base. This took me up through Timanfaya to Club LaSanta and then back down through Teguise

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Day 2 – I followed the cycle path from PdC for over 10 miles along the coast, through Arrecife.  This is completely separate from the traffic, it’s wide, well-surfaced and safe – something the UK could do with a lot more of.

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The cycle path also passes the very end of the airport runway!

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I met an Italian cyclist called Marco in Costa Teguise so it was nice to have company for the majority of the ride

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Day 3 – West to El Golfo and then followed the road down the Playa Blanca.  Then a monster headwind north plus a long and steep climb up to Femes – very hard work into the wind!

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Day 4 – Longest ride including a ride along the coast as far North as possible and up to Mirador del Rio, then a decent climb out of Haria followed by a tailwind all the way home!

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Coast road north

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View from Mirador del Rio


Day 5 – Similar ride to day 1 but a different route back.  Started to feel it in my legs today and my HR monitor packed in part way round so I got some very strange readings.

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Day 6 – Back up to Haria for my biggest day of climbing with rides up both sides of arguably Lanzarote’s highest profile climb – the road out of Haria.

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Top of the climb looking back at Haria


Pictures – some of the pictures I took

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Videos – some videos taken from the rear mounted GoPro camera on my bike

July Roundup

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I had three weekends racing in July before I went on a family holiday to Lanzarote (which I’ll write about in a future post).  The first weekend was a key race for me which turned into a disaster (as I wrote here) so I’ll not mention that again!  The day after I had an opportunity to lift my mood in a ride at D25/3 over at Rainford, which went well and cheered me up a bit.  6th from 43, 57:50

I followed up my weekend disaster with a midweek disaster, hitting a pothole at 30mph on the Seamons Club 10, which resulted in two blown tubs and a written off front wheel.  DNF

The next Saturday saw me back at J2/9, and I was pleased to produce my best ever 25M power figures to record a decent result which earned me 2nd place in the M&NW VTTA 25M Championship and £25.  14th from 87, 56:58

The next midweek Seamons Club 10 saw me ride very carefully past the offending pothole from the week before but still managing to put some decent power out and record my best time on that course to take the win.  1st from 33, 22:40

On the Saturday I was at Hull hoping for a fast time.  For the third time this year there was a really strong crosswind, but thankfully not as bad as it had been.  In the end I put out the most power I’ve ever managed on a 10 and so couldn’t have done much more.  I was pleased with my time but then also slightly disappointed that it wasn’t a “19”. Hopefully I will make it eventually.  27th from 98, 20:12

I was supposed to be riding the V236/1 in Hull on the Sunday morning and after getting up at 5am to drive there it was unfortunately, and correctly, cancelled by the organisers due to the weather making conditions unsafe.  DNS

My final race before going away was the midweek 10 which passed incident free.  3rd from 33, 22:47

With my rides on holiday, July saw me ride 522 miles at around 17.5mph average speed, with 20,901ft of ascent.  I used 18,251kcals of energy, with another 3,349kcals during 4hrs 58mins of turbo training – 1519TSS

Failing (or the Art of Compounding Mistakes…)

At the start of the year I sat down and wrote down a series of things that I wanted to achieve from the 2015 time-trial season.  There were some main goals, some interim goals and some one-off goals.  I then planned out my race calendar so that races that contributed to the main goals were classified as “A” races, “B” races contributed to the other goals and “C” races were simply about race-craft or training.  My training plans would build towards an “A” race and my focus would be 100% on preparation, so it was supposed to be highly scientific and carefully planned.

And then reality happened.

For my first “A” race earlier in the season everything was going to plan in preparation, but the race itself didn’t turn out how I thought it would and at the time I didn’t know why – with hindsight I was at the start of an illness that knocked me back for about 4 weeks.

For my second “A” race I really wasn’t in the right mental frame of mind.  I almost didn’t ride.  The race went entirely to plan!  Make of that what you will.

My third “A” race was over the weekend just gone and involved a 300+ mile round trip.  Again, everything was going to plan.  In the previous week I’d ridden two TT’s at a course best for me. I arrived at the HQ very relaxed and confident.  My warmup was okay.  The trouble was it was very hot – the Garmin and car gauges were reading 30˚C.  I decided against a bottle on the bike because, hey, I’d never needed one for a 25 before.

Hello mistake number 1.

I rode to the start.  It was hot but okay when I was moving.  I rolled past the start and then further up did a U-turn and came back down to the queue of riders, forgetting to change to a higher gear and leaving the bike in too big a gear for my start.

And that was mistake number 2.

My intention was to hold the front brake on, lean the bike forward and flip the gear like I’d done a hundred times before.  I pulled the brake and heard an alarming “ping” as the right hand caliper, hidden behind an aero fairing inside the front fork, clamped to the wheel.  The rider in front of me was at the start line which meant I had a little over a minute.  The wheel wouldn’t turn, the caliper wouldn’t move.  I had no tools to remove the fairing.  I wouldn’t recommend this at home, and with hindsight it didn’t help much, but I loosened the wheel and repositioned it at a slight angle such that it would turn, albeit still touching the pad.  I realised I didn’t dare pull the front brake so I’d be approaching every roundabout simply feathering the rear.  I didn’t have time to be too nervous about that because then it was my turn to push off.  N1/25C has a gift hill at the start.  I realised going down that that I wasn’t going as fast as I should be and so my natural instinct kicked in.

Mistake number 3.

I pushed a bit harder than I should have done, and kept on pushing, but still the speed didn’t come.  At roundabouts (there are lots on N1/25C) I was backing off and using my one brake carefully.  At 8 miles the course turns back on itself and on this day was into a cross headwind.  By 10 miles I was overheating and my power was dropping as my heart rate was rising.  At 13 miles the course turns back again and the sweat was dripping down onto my visor.  I was cursing myself for not putting a bottle on the bike as I was so thirsty.  I’d pretty much run out of gas.  The rest of the ride was a bit of a blur of unpleasantness, and at the end I felt dazed and dizzy as I got my breath back before heading back to HQ.  To be confronted by my worst 25 time for 2 years. In an “A” race.  AN “A” RACE!

Anyway, I sulked for the duration of the drive home.  Took the brake apart to find the broken spring – see picture.  Manufactured a pretty dodgy Heath Robinson fix.  Emailed Canyon to request a warranty replacement.  Got my stuff ready for the following day.  Sulked a bit more.

Ade's Road Cycling Blog

On Sunday morning I just got on my bike and rode.  No warmup as such, a lot of care on the front brake (used it only once) and concentrated on putting the power down in the right places.  I came 6th overall in a time around 4 minutes quicker than the day before. I’d like to say it made up for the Saturday, and in some ways it did.  But I still need to re-assess my overall goals and probably change them, as the ones I’d set are pretty much insurmountable now.  So that remains a real and tangible disappointment after all the effort I’ve put in over the winter.

Anyway, lessons to be learned and more plans to be made.  You might call it a Plan B.  Onwards and upwards.