My only other foray into the world of Time Trialling was in September last year, when I rode in an open 10 on a “sporting course” with a massive hangover. Perhaps unsurprisingly I didn’t enjoy the experience, but with everyone in the club seemingly having a go at Seamons Kilton TT, I figured I’d give it another go.
The course is run along the A50 from just before the Kilton Inn down to the roundabout at the truck stop on the M6 and then back again. I arrived in the car park at the designated time and met Giles, waiting for the chap in the car to turn up with the entry sheet and numbers. Seemingly bemused customers of the pub were sat outside on the benches in the balmy weather enjoying a drink, watching lycra clad individuals milling around, or making final adjustments to bikes and equipment. Much like the last time I felt out of place as I don’t have a TT bike, I definitely would not be seen dead in a skinsuit and I have a regular helmet and not a pointy aero one. To look slightly more professional I removed my saddlebag and sucked my belly in as best I could.
I was number 24 (behind Giles at 23) which meant I was to go off at 7-24pm. I’d already done a bit of a warm up earlier but frankly it was pointless as I’d then stood around in the car park feeling intimidated at my lack of anything aero (excluding my head of course). Andy W turned up resplendent (not!) in a white skinsuit and yellow aero oversocks and gave me some tips
- Don’t go too fast up the slight rise at the start and make yourself feel sick for the next 2 miles
- If you aren’t doing 30mph at the bottom of the hill you aren’t trying
- Don’t worry about the roundabout as the traffic usually dies down
So with that extensive preparation completed I made my way to the start, the applause of my fan (my eldest daughter) reverberating around the Cheshire countryside.
Clipped in and propped up by the starter – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – go! And I was off. I made it to the top of the first rise and didn’t feel sick – tick. I tried to accelerate and I hit the bottom of the hill at 32.1mph – tick. So far, so good, and at this point I hadn’t been overtaken. Then number 26 and number 25 both came past me within yards of each other, 26 in the lead. Both in the full monty kit and on full monty bikes. But we had reached the roundabout and there were 2 HGV’s and a car turning right – fail. 26 slowed but 25, sensing an opportunity or completely mental, shot through the gap between the two HGV’s and was round the roundabout. 26 stopped as did I slightly behind him and as the car cleared I made my way around the roundabout and exited ahead of him. I was up to 25mph pretty quickly but then he just flew past me like I was stood still. But then we started going up the hill and I started to reel him in. This is where I am perhaps strongest as I closed the gap further and further. Then it levelled and he left me for dead once more. Ah well, I had to content myself with overtaking 21 as I headed for the finish. Applause from my fan rang out as I passed the Kilton and as I crossed the line I glanced at my Garmin and noted the time was sub-23 minutes, although it would have stopped itself at the roundabout. So I was expecting a time around what I got – 23:01.
Quite pleased with that as it put me pretty much bang in the middle of the rankings, and I found myself mulling over – could I have gone faster here, what if I hadn’t been stopped at the roundabout? I guess this is how it gets you – and I’ll probably do another again if I can get there from work.
Average speed - 22.81mph and at half-mile intervals (plus line showing course gradient)
Average HR - 178bpm - note HR is in Zone 5 for most of the course
Average Cadence - 98rpm