Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Waiting for TalkTalk

I'm living on TalkTalk time at the moment. So when they say 'go live', it means my broadband will be activated any time from the date they gave me (Oct 5) up until the heat death of the universe. Possibly after that if BT has anything to do with it.

Time passes.

I have now been told that October 5 actually means November 4 because there isn't enough equipment in the local exchange. That reminds me of the fish'n chip shop in Bradford on Avon that had closed due to 'lack of available staff'.

A racing update then. I made the mistake (well more because I had my arm twisted) of entering two races in one day. The Gloucester City hilly 25, part of the hardriders series, and the WC Walcot hillclimb in Bath.

One went well, one didn't. The proof is trivial and left to the reader.

More time passes, punctuated by a Madonna tribute on 4Music.

Solving for x, I won the Gloucester City 25 in 54'41, breaking the course record by a bit over a minute. Last year in rather appalling conditions I did 56'30, so that's an improvement.

But it was an odd race because I was thinking of the hillclimb in the afternoon. I got to the turnaround 2'10 quicker than last year, heart rate still quite low. Then switched off on the way home: 332W going out, 306W coming back. The outward leg is longer and mostly uphill so it worked out OK.

I got a lift back to Bristol with Robin, rode home, gulped down some recovery drink and headed off with Liz to Claverton for the hillclimb. It was a great event with lots of Walcot members and uni students cheering and I'm sort of glad I did it because I won some coffee (team prize with Rob Gough and Tom Marshall).

I only managed 8th, 35 seconds(!) behind Rob Gough who won it in 2'43. That's an immense difference over that short a distance (950m at 10%). My legs didn't feel that bad and it did hurt like a hillclimb should but I was just slow. Lesson learned.

Onto this latest weekend, it was the Chippenham double header. Hillclimb up Bowden hill on Saturday followed by the three up team time trial on Sunday.

The hillclimb was good: I clocked 5'00.5 (5sec quicker than last year) to win by 7 seconds. And it didn't hurt quite the same as last year in that I was only coughing in the evening, not for days afterwards.

The team time trial was on the U59 course near Devizes, different to last year but we reckon a safer course. I've done 53'52 on it solo on a perfect day last April. The only time I did it as part of a team was with Chris Tweedie and Robin in 2007, when we did 56'29 to finish second behind VC St Raphael (53'36). I figured this year Ben, Robin and I could do 52.something. Unfortunately Ben had barely ridden his bike for three weeks and Robin managed to get sick last week, so we weren't quite at full potential. Still, it's the same for everyone at this time of year.

The main challengers were VC St Raphael, who we beat for the first time ever last year. This year they had a composite team with Phill Sykes, Colin Parry and Simon Berogna. It meant that they weren't eligible for the club prize but of course we still wanted to win.

Alas, we came up 10 seconds short. We did manage 52'10 to VC's 52'00, not bad considering and more or less what I expected. Robin did what he could (stayed on, averaging 195bpm all the way round!), Ben was good, especially in the first half and I was stronger than I thought, but they did have to wait for me on the corners.

The conditions were terrible: rain and fairly windy, which made it impossible to sit on a wheel. Annoying, because the forecast was for dry weather and by the afternoon it was clear and sunny. One of the Chippenham teams crashed on the first s-bend and other teams had disasters too. Thankfully we didn't have anything like that.

Unfortunately our reserve rider Simon Snowden will be out of action for a while after crashing on Bowden hill on Saturday. He was on his way back down after watching the hillclimb and his foot came out of the pedal and he just lost it. Off to hospital. Not 100% sure but it looked like he'd broken his collarbone. Oh well Simon, at least it's the off season. Get better soon!

My last race is next week, thankfully. It's the final round of the Rudy Project series, a national version of the WTTA hardriders series. It's 38 miles on a course that uses bits of the U59 but in the opposite direction. Be nice to win it but it's more a case of who turns up (very few riders do the whole series). Duncan Urquhart, winner last weekend, is the man to beat. He's represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in the past and might have his eye on selection in 2010...

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