Monday, June 02, 2008

Like a broken record

As I'd hoped, I managed to beat Andy Cook's nine year-old club 25 mile record in Sunday's Cheltenham fixture.

The previous record was 52'20 and while it would have been nice to go under 52 minutes, I'll take this as I'm definitely off the boil at the moment. Rich Prebble showed us how it's done to win in 50'02, the third quickest 25 time in the UK this season. Gavin P is still going well and his 51'27 didn't surprise me. Nik Gardiner third in 51'37, then Jason Gurney (51'59) then me. And although Simon Snowden did a very useful 54'46, we really needed Andy or Ben there to have a shot at the team prize.

The course was two laps of the Bath 10 course plus a bit extra up to Cirencester. It's all dual carriageway, almost dead flat, but there are some gentle rises that really kill you because you can't see them. So unlike a hilly, there is no respite and I found it quite tough to keep going without relaxing except at the turns. I couldn't ride on these sorts of courses very often. It would do my head in.

I was off early and there wasn't too much traffic, which is (stupidly) a disadvantage. Not much wind either, which was good. It rained for the later guys.

Funnily enough, I clocked 20'46 for the first 10 miles - exactly the same as my Bath 10 time at a slightly lower power. Then it started to get hard and monotonous as I went up to the twin roundabouts at Cirencester. I checked my halfway time: 26'17, so I knew I'd have to work for the record.

But I knew I'd climbed a bit and made it all up on the way back to the start, averaging 48 clicks. I had 31'18 on the clock with 10 miles left, which was better. I didn't get lower than 53x13 except for the last turn, and used the 11 pretty much all the way to the finish. It just felt quicker to push that gear, but my legs are paying for it today.

Interestingly, I did the last 10 miles in 20'44, but my average power was only 304W compared to 330W for the first 10. This is almost certainly due to the increased temperature (+5 degrees is worth about -5W or -5 seconds over that distance) and traffic (worth a lot more). Of course, the pain factor was much greater. No way did I have anything left at the end.

My overall average was 315W. A bit lower than I've been doing in the hilly events but that's to be expected as I've slackened off training in the last few weeks. It'll be interesting to see what I can hit in the second half of the season.

I found an interesting bit of data from the final Giro time trial. It was 28.5km and slightly downhill all the way - a bit like the final Tour de France time trial in 1989 - i.e. very bloody fast.

The winner was Marco Pinotti, the Italian national champ, clocked 32'45 to average just over 52km/h. His average power output (using SRM, not PowerTap, but the two are very close) was 374W and he weighs 68kg. That works out at 'only' 5.5W/kg for half an hour. A sign to me that the grand tours are a lot cleaner than they used to be. And Pinotti has been one of a few pros to be outspoken against doping.

Now, I don't know what Pinotti could do when he's fresh: likely a bit more than 5.5W/kg. But it's nowhere near the 6.4-6.7W/kg quoted for Tour de France contendahs. OK, so the Giro is not the Tour, I know.

So far, my best has been 345W for 22min in our club 10, or just over 4.9W/kg. I still believe I can nudge that over 5W/kg come August with a bit of proper training. It was supposedly 5.1W/kg for 32min at the journo world's last year but I was using Ergomo then which could well have been reading high because of the warm conditions.

Anyway, we shall see!

On a tangential note, I was watching the Isle of Man TT (the motorbike one) the other day. Those guys are nuts. They tend to end up in hospital or worse. They average nearly 210km/h around the circuit, which is on closed public roads with lots of bends, stone walls and bumps. The bike cam footage is amazing but terrifying.

There used to be a cycling time trial and a road race on the same roads, but alas no longer. It would be an incredibly cool event to ride.

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