Monday, May 12, 2008

Seven seconds

The great wheel turns.

Last week, I lost by seven seconds; this week I won by the same margin. And broke the course record in doing so, which was rather nice. To say that I am happy with this result would be an understatement, but I will say it anyway because I approve of understatement.

The Somer Valley course is probably the least interesting of the eight hardriders courses I've done so far, as it's all on non-technical but very dead A roads. It still has a fair whack of climbing: 600m in 46.5km, which is as much as Cheltenham but over a longer distance.

The course record was 1:05:42, which I thought I could break. But only because after plotting it on Bikely, I initially thought it was 43km, not 46.5km. Less than 40km/h on A roads? Easy!

When I rode it, I realised I'd got the starting point wrong and it was indeed 46.5km...

It's best described as 'rolling' but there were a couple of hills where I needed the small chainring. And the finish was gradually uphill, so it was important to go out conservatively save something for the final dig.

My pacing was a lot better than last week. Each of the climbs took several quanta of energy out of my legs but I still had more than enough in the tank for the last couple. The finish was really difficult to judge - both Gavin P and I found that. We were expecting it to be tougher than it was and both of us could have gone a bit harder. Anyway, it was nice not to be written off by the end.

I checked my clock and it read 1:05:26 so I knew I'd broken the record. But the conditions were so good that I thought Gavin could do it too. When we got the official times it turned out we both did: me with 1:05:31 and him with 1:05:38. Another tight race! I finished with the princely sum of 57 quid for winning, breaking the record and the team win with Simon Snowden and Robbie Richardson.

PowerTap said: 320W average, 328 normalised. So a higher absolute average than in Cheltenham, but a lower normalised one. I'd like to bump that up to 350W for an hour and 370 for 20min, but I don't usually hit peak fitness until June. Of course I may be close to it now, given recent results. It's tough to compare a time trial power output to that on a road bike, where you tend to produce more but go slower.

I can't exactly complain with the way this season has started. It's somewhat better than last year, or possibly any year in terms of results. In opens so far, I've notched up four wins, eight team wins, two 2nds, a 3rd, two 4ths, a 9th and a 12th (at Castle Combe). I'm leading the WTTA series and have a slight edge over Gavin P, who may only ride one of the remaining four events as he has a growing family.

Next up: a 25 miler in June where I think 52 minutes is doable. Then a few sportives, including Paris-Roubaix, Franja and hopefully the Dave Lloyd Mega Challenge (must enter). Then one hardriders TT in July before resuming in earnest in August and racing through until mid-October. I'll even do a road race.

I must say I like it when it's above 20 degrees. The weather has finally managed to do that. Well done, bravo, etc.

Song of the day: there were a few, but "Seven Seconds" wasn't one of them. There was some PJ Harvey, possibly.

Cora and Clarice: On the bike path, I occasionally see a pair of identical twins doing their morning constitutional. The two women look to be in their 50s, have the same hairstyle and matching iPods. They walk side by side and don't acknowledge your existence, never moving an inch even when they can see you coming towards them. I suspect they are Lord Sepulchrave's sisters and are plotting to burn down the Bath municipal library and dreaming of power, possibly.

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