Tuesday, September 08, 2009

BTTC: win-win


The British time trial championships has been run and won (it's important to have a punchy opening line like that). Brad Wiggins showed exactly why he is one of the best riders in the world, getting round the 50.4km course in 1:02:15. Hutch didn't get as close as I thought he would, and clocked 1:04:34 for second. But even that was a lot faster than Chris Newton's third in 1:06:14. Pretty impressive time gaps.

Wiggins rocks for taking something like this seriously, and it was great to see him in action. He is superb. Liz and I were watching on the first corner (3.8km into the lap; it was one lap of 16.1km and two laps of 17.2km) and by 20km Wiggins was just 10sec behind his two minute man, Matt Bottrill and already 43sec up on Hutch.

Women's winner Emma Pooley ascends the Col du Botolph Claydon

Wendy Houvenaghel, second woman

Michael Hutchinson in full flight

Brad Wiggins takes the corner at Calvert

...with Matt Bottrill in tow

One lap later (37.2km), it was somewhat of a surprise to see Bottrill almost glued to Wiggins' wheel. When you're passed in a TT, you have to drop back to 25m behind whoever passes you. If you manage to find the strength to re-pass, or the guy in front blows up, then they have to sit 25m behind you. Somehow I don't think Bottrill re-passed Wiggo on lap 2. And given how many observers were stationed out on the course, it was suicidal of Bottrill to stay so close to Wiggins. Maybe that's what he wanted, because he got DQ'd.

It was humbling to see Wiggins in action. I worked out that based on my ride over two laps, I could have done around 1:08:30 - over six minutes behind Wiggo and four minutes behind Hutch (again). This is what an extra 100 or so watts will do for you.

But still, I had good reason to be proud of my ride. I clocked 45'09 for 33.3km to win the masters category. Result! Not just the 35-40yr age group, but every age group, which was a real surprise. Then again, last year I was over a minute off the pace of everyone but I've been consistently quicker over every distance this year so it did make sense.

In my age group, Steve Golla was second with 45'57 so there were no 'what ifs' luckily. And Ben did a great ride to finish second in the A group with 45'49 behind Danny Axford (45'14). So we both moved up one or two steps on our respective podiums compared to last year. It was a great result for Chippenham and both of us were very chuffed.

On the podium with Steve Golla (L, 2nd) and Darren Barclay (R, 3rd)
Ben (L) on the podium with Danny Axford in top spot and Dave Crawley (R) in third

I found the course a bit slower than I expected, probably because of the wind. It was against us on the first two legs, then across for the third leg, then cross/tail for the last one. So it never really felt easy. The road surface was quite good but it was rarely dead flat. We constantly had to deal with changing gradients and it was hard to go really fast at any point.

I had a bit of a moment on the second lap, bowling down the narrow back section at 44km/h and seeing one, then two, then three, then four and maybe even five tractors, although I lost count by then, coming towards me! There was a big farm on that part of the course and I feared this would happen. Bad luck to get so many though. I slowed to 25km/h, squeezed past each of them on the gravel, prayed I didn't puncture and resumed. After downloading the file later, I worked out it cost me six seconds which was annoying but it didn't make any appreciable difference.

Pacing was very good again - another improvement over last year. I took the first lap fairly steadily and lifted it on the second, which seemed to work. Power wise, I averaged 323W/330 normalised, which was one of my best rides of the season. In fact, only the Chippenham hilly in March, which I did with a recently torn calf(!), was better: 325W/333NP for 54min. Maybe not having everything going smoothly is good, because I had a raging sore throat all weekend and I've still got it.

Couple of pics at Sarah Brooke Photography: here and here.

Monday: The doc said it was a virus. Argh! Of all weeks to get sick. I could barely swallow on Monday night so I'm taking it easy, drinking lots, gargling with disprin etc. If it doesn't get better by Thursday, I'm not going to Slovenia.

Wednesday update: I saw another doc, who confirmed it was tonsilitis and gave me some penicillin. He reckons I should be fine by Saturday so I will go. Maybe just do the TT though.

Finally, I receieved a 'welcome to TalkTalk' letter today (phone/broadband connection is still weeks off). That's what I call customer service.


Lucy Power said...

congrats Jeff! Love yer work.

hugh jones said...

At last! Vindication for being cheated out of your "Sydney to the Gong" win.

Jeff Jones said...

Thanks Lucy :-) 'Twas a bit unexpected to beat *everyone* but I'm not complaining!

Pa, thanks for reminding me. That will obviously rankle me for the rest of my days.