Sunday, August 08, 2010

Killing time

I've just finished a week of holidays (well, time off in lieu) and by god I needed it. I've not had a proper break since January and was running very low on mental energy.

I couldn't believe how much sleep I had during the first few days: I'd have two one hour naps during the day, then sleep for 10hrs! But I seem to have caught up at last.

Racing has resumed too. I did a 50 in Wales last weekend and won it in 1:47:09 by 20seconds or so. This was helped largely by Ceri Pritchard pulling out with, erm, skinsuit issues with 7 miles to go. He was 1'30 up on me at halfway and I doubt he would have lost that over the final 25 miles. But my power was decent, my pacing excellent, and my legs were absolutely wrecked the next day. I blame the Bristol Harbour Festival on the previous day for that :-)

I had a go at the club 10 again, although I probably shouldn't have. I was slower than last week (21'41 vs 21'32), but also 12 watts down b/c I wasn't fresh. I'd gone back to my old position too, and taking into account conditions, I figured the old one was marginally quicker than my experimental one. Dang, so much for 10%.

I did some more testing on Thursday (not ideal as I had a race on Saturday) and thought I'd found another 10%. But no, although I think what I found was marginally quicker than my old position, it's nothing like 10% faster.

The race was round 5 of the Rudy Project, probably the last one I do in the series unless I decide to do the final one in mid October. It was two laps of a lumpy course near Worcester, which looked faster than it actually was.

Actually I tell a lie, Matt Bottrill made it look quick with his time of 1:12:40 for the 33.7 miles (54.2km). Ben had a great race to finish second, especially as we were equal after the first lap.

I was hoping to go a bit faster than I did but a series of mini-disasters put paid to that. First was getting held up by a bus on the first lap for a total of 2'10. The bus was waiting to overtake the rider in front but couldn't because the road was a bit twisty and there were double white lines. That's good driving and should be applauded but it didn't help me. I think this event should be held on a Sunday morning rather than a Saturday afternoon, as it's very easy to get a traffic jam on a single carriageway. I did use the time to chat to another guy who'd punctured and was limping to the finish.

At the end of the lap, the heavens opened and I found myself unable to see through my visor. Oops. So I backed off on the first part of lap 2, which was mostly downhill, then got going again after Martley. That only cost me 10 seconds, but I really didn't want to crash at 60km/h on a wet descent like I did 12 years ago.

The next section was good and I made up my lost time plus an additional 20 seconds, I suspect because the wind had picked up. I lost it on the way home.

Unfortunately again on the busier section to the finish, there were several large agricultural vehicles in front of me, so I had to ease up for another 45 seconds. Luckily they turned off but it was more time lost.

I got to the finish, pretty annoyed with how things had gone and my power output reflected that: it was lower than the 50 last week and the race was half an hour shorter! A combination of doing too much during the week and things not working out on the day.

3rd place was still quite a good result, but I'd rate it as my worst ride of the year. Funnily enough, the 4th place I had in round 4 was probably my best ride.

In terms of the Rudy Project series as a whole, I will now have 289 points while Bottrill will have 297 and is the deserving winner of the series. Depending on what happens in the next few rounds, I should therefore end up 2nd or 3rd overall. The prizemoney is the same (zero) so I'm not too bothered about securing second.

The good thing this year is that there will be quite a few riders who do the full complement of five races. Last year there were just two, and the winner Dean Robson hasn't managed higher than 5th in a round this year. He also rode on Sunday, but after being caught for two minutes by Ben and then nearly four minutes by Matt on the first lap, he pulled out. Interestingly, Matt was two minutes quicker this year than last, despite the conditions being rather bad.

What next? The WTTA 100 this weekend. Oh joy. Then a bit of a gap until the British TT championships, where I have entered the elite category and will be up against the likes of Brad Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome, not to mention Hutch and Bottrill. I need to find a bit of form!

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