Wednesday, August 05, 2009


This latest bilgespot update is tardy, I know. It's that time of year again (July/August), and that is as good an excuse as any. To resume somewhere near where I left off:

XI) El Tour is done and the best man won by a mile. Actually it was closer to two miles. Enjoyed: Astana battling it out amongst themselves (is there a test for EGO yet?); Brad Wiggins in general; Mark Cavendish and Fabian Cancellara. Did not enjoy: the boredom of everything else, including several of the mountain stages.

Contador and Lance will at least be on different teams next year. And Cadel looks to have missed two of his best chances of winning the Tour ('07 and '08). He flaked this year.

XII) It's been a wet July: It rained 24 days out of 31, unlike June where it only rained on 12 days. Checking my records, that's actually worse than last year! August is looking a little better: last year it rained 26/31 days but given that the rest of this week is forecast to be dry, we should be OK. Break out the BBQs.

XIII) I did our club's open 25 mile TT on the U46B a couple of weeks ago. It was a bit of a blowy morning and I couldn't really get going in the first half, clocking 20'45 for the first 10 miles. But I got to the turnaround and remembered how to pedal properly (pull the pedals round, don't stomp on them) and managed the last 10 miles in 20'02 for a total time of 51'04. Only 15sec off my best, which was set on a perfect day in June.

It was also easily good enough to win, which was rather satisfying both from a personal and a club point of view. Julian Jenkinson was second in 51'46 and Ben Anstie third in 52'53. Robin did a 54'32 so we won the team prize quite comfortably.

I've now won two 25s on that course. Last year I only managed 5th (52'02 in June) and 3rd (53'46 in the Chippenham open on a tough day in July). So that is progress.

XIV) Last weekend I did a stint as part of the Triathlon Plus "A" team in the London Triathlon, which is reckoned to be the biggest in the world (10,000 participants). We dun good and beat 400 other teams to win the Olympic Team Relay by five minutes. The Triathlon Plus B team (Chris, Alistair and editor Liz) also did well and finished 30th. Result!

It was an Olympic distance event, so 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run. The swim was in the crystal clear waters of the Thames. I pitied the swimmers. The run was only 9.4km and basically squiggled around the ExCel centre in Docklands.

The bike course started and finished in ExCel and was 4x10km laps on closed roads. Although it was just up and back along the same road, it was quite technical with 72 roundabouts, turns and turnarounds. Plus narrow bits and hundreds of other riders on the course. And a transition.

Our swimmer, Paul Button, who publishes T3 magazine, was third out of the water. He would have been first or second but he got lost. Yes, it is possible. Our transition wasn't bad - I had to get the timing chip from Paul, then run in cycling shoes(!) until I reached the timing mat, then hop on the bike and go. A couple more people dashed past me on the way out but couldn't clip in as fast as I could so it was pointless. I had passed everyone bar one (who had a really quick swimmer) at the bottom of the exit ramp. I got him before the first turnaround after 2.5km.

The first lap was nice because there weren't too many others from previous events on the course. But then it got busier as more riders from the team relay got out. Apart from the narrow sections, where there was only room for two side by side, I had a pretty good run. In fact, the motorcycle marshals (draft busters) slowed me up more than anything because they would pull out behind a group, I would catch them and have to thread my way past.

I was keeping tabs on the other leading riders and saw I was making fairly good time. But there was one guy who I saw towards the end of my first lap who was stopped on the median strip adjusting his front wheel. I remembered passing him so it meant he was at least 4km behind me. Then I saw him in exactly the same spot doing the same thing on the next lap. 'Poor lad, race is over for him' I thought. So I was shocked when he came in second, a few minutes behind me! But he was later DQ'd for outrageously cutting the course.

I finished my ride in 56'49, which is not particularly quick for 40km - even on closed roads - but the number of turns on the course knocked the edge off my speed. My power was quite good though.

I ran back into ExCel and got a massive and unexpected cheer as the first cyclist home. Then I nearly fell over in my cycling shoes and that was the end of that. Still, I had plenty of time to hand off to Phil Mosley, our runner and coaching editor on Triathlon Plus. He did the fourth fastest run split (31'37) but didn't really have to try because we were so far ahead. We finished in 1:55:27 to win by about five minutes! Definitely a buzz!

Tri Plus B had a solid performance too to come in 30th with 2:20:52. Jolly well done chaps and chapess. We will PR this to the max.

Results and pics (search for 10866 and 10867)

It would have been nice to do the course that the elites did on Sunday, which was shorter (38km) only two laps - one up to Westminster and one to Billingsgate - and involved far fewer turns. The best elite did 54'37, which is about the same speed as I averaged, and they could draft. Of course, they wouldn't have been going flat out like I was, because of the run afterwards. And there was no way I could have got out of the water in 18 minutes! Try an hour...

XV) The recent successes have had something to do with getting it right in training, and no longer being bothered by my torn muscle. During July I went back to my winter training plan (with a few races thrown in) and it's worked well. My power is back up, not quite to peak, but most importantly I'm consistently getting faster. As of this morning, I'm over three minutes quicker over the same 39km TT course as I was at the start of July, and five minutes faster than I was in February. Yes conditions are better now but it's still an improvement.

I've got plenty of races coming up where I can benefit from this - a couple of 25s, a 100, a very fast 10, the British champs, the journo worlds, Duo Normand and a few more after that. I should be getting a superfast bike to test as well...

(Swine flu permitting, of course)


Hugh Jones said...

Tardiness is only in the mind of the other placegetters.

Jeff Jones said...

This is true.

It's all relative anyway. Except when you approach the speed of light, but I think I need a few more watts to do that.

Salgo said...

Well done Jeff and all the Triathlon Plus team.