The sunshine continued into the start of June with warm and sunny conditions on the first weekend of the month. On Saturday it was back to J2/9 in Cheshire for the Salford Open 25.
It didn’t feel as fast as the 25 a couple of weeks earlier but it was still a good day and it was my turn to get lucky with the traffic, meaning I got round with no holdups to speak of. My power was a bit lower but still good, and I was pleased with my overall time and placing. 25M in 54:52, 10th from 57 riders (£20 1st 50-54, £10 1st team)
Not Quite #Project49
On Sunday morning I travelled to South Wales to ride the fast R25/3H course. I’d requested a later slot so I only had to be up and out at 6am and it was a very pleasant drive across the Brecon Beacons to get there, especially because there were quite a few very young Welsh Mountain Ponies grazing by the roadside. In the sunshine, it really is spectacular countryside. It was very hot warming up and it seemed there was little wind to speak of. Not surprisingly given the schedule over the last week my power was a bit lower but I gave it everything I had in my legs and I managed to sustain it for the whole ride, although I was dying at the end. I covered the first 10 miles in 18:44 (32.1mph), the second 10 in 20:42 (29mph) and the last 5 miles in 10:52 (27.8mph). My overall time was agonisingly close to my season target of a 49 – less than a second a mile. That doesn’t seem like much but as I say, I left it all out there so maybe another time! It was still a 25M PB by nearly a minute and a half so very happy with that 25M in 50:16, 27th from 102 riders
In midweek I was well beaten into 2nd place on the Club 10 by Alan. If I perform at my peak I can sometimes get close to him, or beat him, but rarely in midweek so it wasn’t really a surprise.
The Janus 25 around J2/9 was the following Saturday. It was a relatively incident free ride for me again and I managed to lower my course best for J2/9 for a second time this season. I did this off a slightly lower power and I tried to concentrate on maintaining an aero position. I suspect it was a quick day anyway because MyWindSock and BestBikeSplit suggested my CdA was worse than the previous time round J2/9. Sometimes (most times) I just don’t understand this sport! The quality of rides on J2/9 seems to have shot up this year so you have to be really on your mettle every time. Two years ago on this event I finished 5th having ridden over two minutes slower than my time this year where I finished 6th (this years time would have seen me podium in 2016!) 25M in 54:22, 6th from 91 riders (£30 fastest veteran)
On the Sunday the weather was almost perfect again so I headed north into Lancashire on a training ride. I figured I’d get some miles in my legs at a decent pace and also some ice cream!
Work commitments meant I missed the midweek Club 25 Championship which Alan duly won – at this rate he’s on for a clean sweep of the club trophies. It was disappointing not to be able to defend something I won last year but sometimes life gets in the way.
M&DTTA 50 Mile Championship
It was a pretty windy day and it felt relatively cool. The J4/9 course makes a nice change from J4/16 – it has a reasonable surface relative to other Cheshire courses and a good deal of it has low levels of traffic.
I was going pretty well for the first 30 miles or so – happy enough with my power and pace – although the wind is always a bit of a struggle when you’re quite light (currently around 62kg). Then it started raining! In fact it absolutely belted it down for a while and I got quite cold. Worse, large sections of the course ended up partially under water meaning the potholes and ruts were hidden from view and the only line was to ride further into the middle of the road. This was the first time I’d worn the Giro Aerohead helmet in the wet too. It doesn’t cope well and the visor steamed up pretty badly. So overall, it knocked the stuffing out of me and I struggled towards the end, with my power dropping off and having to fidget about to see. 50M in 01:54:13, 8th from 69 riders
A hard few days of training meant my legs were suffering at the club 10 on Wednesday. Sunny, but windy and a bit chilly, it was a real struggle but I was determined to push through it and ended up with a decent power output, albeit 2nd again! My aero positioning appears to have gone to pot though so I need to work on that a bit more.
With V718 in Hull now closed off to any time-trials it is hard to get a fast 10 mile ride (and I can kiss goodbye to beating my 10 mile PB in all likelihood). The strip at Levens (L1015) can be very quick but can also be very mediocre, and events on there are few and far between. Also, they are either very early in the morning or late into the evening. So on the Saturday I was due to race at 7-45pm and thankfully it was still warm and pleasant. The highish air pressure meant I wasn’t going to get close to a 19 but I wanted to concentrate on pushing a good power (for me), maintaining an aero position and possibly posting a course best. Well, two out of three wasn’t too bad! I was happy with my power and position and I missed my course best by a few seconds. Maybe next time!* 10M in 20:41, 19th from 100 riders
(*edit 06/07/18 – re-checked my records. Beat my course best by 7 seconds! Don’t know what I was thinking)
I spent a very pleasant evening in the Cheshire sun, acting as a marshall on the Seamons TLI road race on the Siddington Circuit. The next evening was the club 10 which was slightly less pleasant – it was very hot and my legs felt really sore and heavy.
My times so far this season have been 22:44, 22:17, 22:42, 22:32, 22:19, 22:24 and 22:26 so I am at least very consistent!
In early May I had a private health check through work which involved a reading from an Electrocardiogram (ECG), as well as various blood tests, blood pressure etc. I thought nothing of it until a couple of days later when I got a call from the doctor to tell me that I had First Degree Heart Block and Acute Sinus Bradycardia, and I should see my GP to get a referral to a cardiologist. Oh, and I shouldn’t exercise, just to be on the safe side (I’m afraid I ignored this!) As you might imagine it was a significant shock. I googled it straight away and found that it broadly means that I have a very low resting heart-rate (it’s between 42bpm and 50bpm mainly) along with something to do with the time that the electrical signal takes to cross my heart, and is incredibly common in well-trained individuals. In fact it is generally only a concern if accompanied by other symptoms, like chest pain, none of which I have. That put my mind at rest to some extent but I duly went to GP. He seemed relatively unconcerned but took my blood pressure (again), blood tests (again) and referred me anyway.
I got my appointment this month so off I went to hospital. It was a bit bizarre as I walked into the waiting room of the chest clinic, and it was full of very overweight people, many struggling to catch their breath on what was a very hot day. If you were going to stereotype who might be seeing a cardiologist it would be that waiting room, and I definitely looked (and felt) very much out of place. Thankfully, after another ECG and some questions about family medical history, the cardiologist confirmed it was due to my training and so I have been given the all-clear.
I understand that the doctor at the health check was only doing her job but I can’t help thinking it has wasted the valuable NHS resources of both my GP and the cardiologist (and the many duplicated tests). Not to mention the additional stress I have felt – I’ve tried not worry about it but it is definitely a relief. Some good news to end the month.
What a scorching month it’s been! I rode for 666 miles outdoors, in mostly glorious sunshine, with 29,804ft ascent at around 18.6mph average, which used up around 22,402kcals. I only spent 16 hours on the turbo using a further 11,118kcals. Total for the month was 2,909 TSS