August was topped and tailed with visits to the V in Hull. Hoping for fast days, at the start of the month we got the opposite, an unusually slow day. More on the end of the month later.
Normally, whilst not ideal, a westerly wind is okay if it’s not too strong. I’ve set my PB on a day with a westerly. However, on this day it was too strong on the inbound leg and it appeared to affect most of the field, apart from those at the very, very pointy end. I paced the ride really well with a negative power split to enable me to push as hard as possible into the headwind back but my run of 19’s on the V stretching back to May 2016 came to an end with a 20:18!
A week later and it was the Congleton CC 50 mile open on the J4/9 course. I feel this is a better course than J4/16 but it has shorter laps so there can be some congestion later on. It was a nice enough day although the wind, as ever, was more than you’d ideally like, albeit in the “correct” direction for this course. I was really happy with my ride apart from the traffic, which seemed unusually high – I got held up many times and even ended up unclipping twice at key junctions.
It was our club 50 championship and I was happy to come away with the win, plus Seamons won the team prize again so that was very satisfying. 8th from 100 riders (£60, 2nd on standard, 1st team)
Associations 12 Hour
On Sunday 20th August it was the WCTTA, MDTTA and LTTCA combined 12 Hour event in Shropshire. The course was much changed from the one I rode last year (here) apart from the final 12.7 mile finish circuit.
I’d worked out a feeding and pacing strategy as best I could as didn’t really know the course so it was a guess really. I also had a power number in mind based on what I did last year, and was pretty pleased to have got it within a watt by the end, although I somehow ended up with 2s and 5s power peaks of 1100W and 943W respectively, which is absolutely stupid on a 12 and very much a schoolboy error.
It was pretty cool when I set off but the sky was clear and it warmed up during the morning. The first circuit took us from Press Heath to Espley and then three laps down to Shaw Birch and back. The outbound bit was headwind which was hard work and other than Peplow the surface was reasonable. I didn’t stop during that first 70 miles other than for a call of nature, and then headed back to Prees to join the day circuit, a 22 mile loop around Redbrook, Welshampton, Quina Brook and Tilstock. This was a new route to me and it was very rolling terrain, with a surface that was patchy in parts, especially some of the smaller rural roads. It would probably be very pleasant for a social ride apart from the unbelievably annoying and utterly pointless temporary traffic lights – two different sets of them! The road barely narrowed where they were set up and on these quiet country lanes they seemed pretty unnecessary. I got stopped a number of times. The finish circuit reversed part of the day circuit through Tilstock and was the same as last year (with the addition of one of the sets of lights). I didn’t realise at the time but since the event a few people asked me what was wrong in the first 100 miles. Apparently I was well down in the standings but I was fine and just pacing things with the full 12 hours in mind.
To give me an idea of how hard to push it I taped the pacing sheet, and my scheduled stops, to my basebar.
In comparison to the picture above my times were 50 – 02:07, 100 – 04:17, 150 – 06:28, 200 – 08:46 and 250 – 11:00. What I didn’t factor in was the unscheduled traffic light stops. This meant that instead of actually cutting the amount of time stopped from last years effort, I ended up stopping for more time, despite fewer food and drink stops. In total I ended up being stopped for around 12 minutes – half of which was unplanned.
During the day it had been warm and I thought that wearing a base layer may have been a wrong choice. However, around 4pm the temperature dipped as the clouds closed in and then the rain started. And it was cold – a base layer was definitely the right choice!
Last year I got slower and slower as the punishing road surface and the pain of staying in position took its toll. In fact I ended up sat up last year at the end more often than being in tuck. This year, apart from a few wobbles, I was much more capable of staying in position. That’s not to say it didn’t hurt. It really did. A lot. By the end my neck, shoulders and lower back were sore, as well as the obvious clacker area. But my chest and front of my arms hurt too. The rain also made it very cold so I was suffering from leg cramps at the same time as trying to push hard to keep my heart rate up and keep warm.
Although the pain is physical it requires mental strength to push through it. You’d never get to the start of a 100 mile TT and say to yourself “nearly done, only 4 hours left” but that’s exactly what you do on a 12 after 8 hours! Apparently, according to my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt I used over 9,000 kcalories. Here’s what I ate/drank
- Power gel shots
- Power Go Energy double cappuccino gel
- Power Go Energy mini bar x 3
- Tesco chocolate rice cake x 3
- ZipVit Zv7c cappuccino gel x 2
- Clif shot bloks x 2
- Power wafer bar x 3
- Tesco spicy seed shot
- Bottle of Hi5 Energy Source x 5
That still left me with a 6,000 kcalories deficit so I must be pretty efficient at converting fat to usable energy.
Towards the end I knew I was close to my target of 270 miles but alas the traffic lights put paid to that and despite a final push I finished just short!
By the time I got back to my car I was borderline hypothermic and it took me ages to stop shivering! My final official distance was revised down to 267.64 miles which is second in the Seamons club records but 1st all-age veteran. Also, in the provisional results we missed out on the team prize by three quarters of a mile – incredible! 3rd from 50 riders (provisional – £60)
Last year I didn’t really recover from the 12 and was tired for the remainder of the season. I was a little bit more active in my recovery this time and I haven’t felt as tired. So I was optimistic about the remaining races I’d entered. Next up was the Withington Wheelers 10 on J2/1 but amazingly, yet again the course was subject to roadworks and temporary traffic lights! A little used sporting course – J6/10 – was the substitute. I’d ridden this once before – my first ever time trial nearly 7 years earlier.
It was a very pleasant afternoon – sunny and relatively calm. I made a bit of a mistake with my contact lenses which meant my vision wasn’t great and on a course I wasn’t familiar with, that was very twisty, narrow and rolling, I was slightly hesitant. That said, I was happy enough with my power output and my overall performance. 7th from 79 riders (provisional – £20)
The day after it was my final trip to Hull to try and knock some seconds off my 10M PB.
The HQ was at Hull Ionians rugby club, as opposed to Newport Village Hall, and it is a fantastic facility for an HQ, albeit the ride back was nearly as long as the race. In sunny conditions it was a very pleasant way to cool down. It was a much hotter day with calmer conditions than earlier in the month and as such I performed much better. I was, however, 5s slower than my PB so it will realistically have to wait until 2018 for another tilt at it. 56th from 115 riders
During the month I managed 812 miles outdoors with 29,471ft ascent at around 19.1mph average, which used up around 28,494kcals. I spent 12 hours and 22 minutes on the turbo using a further 8,671kcals. Total for the month was 2,831TSS