The worst weather in around a decade saw the temperature plummet to around -10˚C, resulting in the first of the season’s races being cancelled.
A week later and the temperature had swung back around to 14˚C and the M&DTTA 10 went ahead in very wet, but warm, conditions. Roadworks on all of the local courses meant we were racing on J4/20e – a course I’d not ridden before. Warming up in the rain on a turbo in a muddy field just about sums up the glamour of the amateur time-trial scene. The first race of the season is always a horror show as you reaquaint yourself with riding flat out in an aero position. There’s only so much I can do on the turbo in preparation (putting aside the fact that I hate riding in position on the turbo) and so it turned out. My position felt quite alien and I was way off the pace. I mean a long way off the pace. My armrests are narrower this year, which caused some shoulder issues I wasn’t expecting. In addition, the non-countersunk bolts on my new armrests didn’t have sufficient padding and every bump (it’s Cheshire, there are a lot) sent a shooting pain into the bone on my forearms! More padding needed – it’s thing like this you only find out through riding outside. So I was uncomfortable pretty much from the off. I guess it was therefore unsurprising when my average power was 20-22W down on the last 10 of last season, and 10-12W down on the same race last year (which itself was 20W down on year before). I did go off too hard but I ran out of steam fairly quickly and my legs felt pretty dead (and painful). That said, the time was very similar, albeit it was probably a fast day (if you exclude sticking my head up too high because of the surface and a steamed-up visor). Using MyWindsock.com and BestBikeSplit seemed to suggest my new position has a decent CdA and is therefore pretty aero if I can hold it. But it’s at the cost of power which hopefully will come back as I adapt to it. 10M in 22:22, 6th from 47 riders (1st vet on standard, £20, 1st team, £10)
Clearly, with the amount of variables in software-based aero analysis, there is a limit to the accuracy of these figures, but it would suggest that if I can properly adapt to my new position and get back to decent power levels (which I know I can do easily out of aero position) then I should improve. And if I needed a reminder of what it felt like to ride hard in my aero position it came the next morning – in the form of back-ache and pain in my neck. Of course experience has taught me that this is short-lived and will only take a few more rides to sort itself out – which is what these March (and April) races are all about really.
Unfortunately, the weather turned again, with Scandinavian/Siberian winds blowing in the ice and snow for the weekend and resulting in the third race of the season being cancelled. I was actually in mid-warmup on the turbo in the HQ car park when the call was made. Strong winds and regular snow flurries meant it wasn’t safe to go ahead.
Thankfully the weather for the final M&DTTA 10 was relatively good. This time the course was J2/20, which is mainly the same as J2/1 but with the start and finish on the J2/3 course.
I felt much better this time. Although my legs were very, very unhappy about it I managed to maintain a level of power not too far off what I was doing last season, and I felt a lot more relaxed in position. On the way out I noticed a rider with a bloodied face being tended on the other side of the road and a bit further up I saw an ambulance heading in his direction. Not great and a further reminder that riding a bike on the roads is always a risk unfortunately. As I turned and headed back I was slightly held up by cars waiting to pass the now-stationary ambulance but it looked like the chap was being tended inside rather than whisked off to hospital – hopefully that is a good sign. At the HQ I overheard somebody saying that he and a lady rider had collided (and both come off) after a car had startled one of them using their horn – I have no idea if this is actually what happened or just hearsay, but it doesn’t sound very pleasant at all. Anyway, overall I was much happier with the ride. I’m not sure I was very aero – I keep sticking my head up to see where I’m going properly. I know I’m doing it but am struggling to stop it, especially around Cheshire because the road surface is appalling. 10M in 22:25, 9th from 54 riders (2nd vet on standard, £12, 1st team, £10)
Project 1849 is already dead in the water. The Yorkshire District Committee of the CTT pre-empted any decision by the Highways Agency to ban cycling on the A63 by removing their support for any events to be held on V718 for the foreseeable future. So that’s the chance of an 18 gone. I might just rename it Project 49 now and concentrate on trying to do a 30mph 25. Anyway, the Good Friday City Road Club event on the V718 was moved to the V714, which is just down the road but takes place on an out and back single carriageway road.
The weather held, albeit very cold, and the surface on part of the course was absolutely superb. There’s a pelican crossing near the end which could be a concern but it had 2 marshalls at it so it didn’t cause any problems as far as I know. Overall the course was quite good and could be much quicker when warmer. The headwind back was a bit of an ordeal and I’m a bit gutted not to get a 21, but I enjoyed it and will do it again. 10M in 22:01, 9th from 51 riders
March, like February before it, was another weather disrupted month, only allowing me to get in 354 miles outdoors with 18,405ft ascent at around 16.4mph average, which used up around 13,150kcals. I also spent 32 hours and 14 minutes on the turbo using a further 23,404kcals. Total for the month was 2,859TSS