The season has started!
Four races in March signalled the start of the season and first attempts to see whether a winter of my own custom training plan had paid dividends.
The first race was a Manchester & District TT Association (M&DTTA) 10 on the J4/17 course. The weather was pretty good, with a temperature of around 10˚C and a lightish 7mph southerly wind. I felt pretty good all the way around and was happy when I crossed the line with a new power PB (season goal – tick) and a time of 22:14, which was over a minute quicker than I’d done before on the course. 5th from 56 (2nd on standard – £20 prize)
A week later it was the first of the Cheshire points series races, another M&DTTA 10 but on the J2/3 course. It was bit colder at 8˚C and with a stiffer 9mph north-easterly. My time of 22:30 was good enough to help my new club, Seamons, to the team prize and a podium place for me (season goal – tick). 2nd from 96 riders (£15 prize + £10 team)
On Good Friday I went to the V718 course in Hull. It’s widely acknowledged to be the fastest 10 course in the country and as such it’s very popular, with many of the best riders in the country riding. For once the wind wasn’t blowing a gale and was a helpful 9mph WNW on a chilly 9˚C morning. I’ve been chasing a “19” since last season so I made sure my preparation was spot on. One of the things that makes the V a fast course is traffic but there was relatively little at 10am on Good Friday, but it’s still a startlingly fast course. With the wind almost directly behind me on the way out there were times I was spinning out at 38mph on a 53-11 gearing. My first 5 miles, including the start and the turn, took 9m 16s. The 5 miles back, which I did at 12W more power, took over a minute longer. I crossed the line at 19:39 and finally ticked off a goal that had eluded me for a season. There were some very fast rides, including the winner posting a “17”, but I am pleased that I managed to come 21st in a high quality field. 21st from 121 riders
The second of the M&DTTA 10’s was the day after my trip to Hull. The weather was very different. 12.5˚C but with a southerly wind of 25mph with gusts up to 50mph. As soon as I started I knew I was in trouble. Even the relatively sheltered Twemlow Lane start had me struggling to stay on a line and it got worse from there. On the A535, particularly the very exposed parts, I was getting blown all over the road. The worst thing was that it wasn’t consistent, it was swirling and hitting from both sides. At one point, down near the sandworks I very nearly got blown off the bike, such was the force the crosswind hit me. I spent much of the outbound leg on the drops rather than the aerobars. After getting held up at the Chelford roundabout I was hoping the inbound leg would be a bit easier but if anything it was worse and I have to say I lost my nerve and spent most of it on the drops. I finally reached the finish line and it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve never been more relieved to do so in any race. 8th from 64 riders (2nd on standard – £15 prize)
March is normally a consolidation month where I try to transfer the gains I’ve made on the turbo to the bike. I’m delighted with the start I’ve made but there is more to come. Despite ticking off three season goals already, I still haven’t put the same power out on the bike that I have done on the turbo, which is a complete opposite to last season! April sees the start of the 25’s, which is my favourite distance, so I am looking forward to that!
Overall, during the month I rode a rather paltry 317 road miles, with a very flat 14,158ft of climbing at an average speed of around 16.7mph. I used 10,584kcals of energy, with another 22,299kcals during 28hrs and 38mins of turbo time. Total training stress was 2,828TSS.