Saturday, May 14, 2011

49.7 km/h

Or 30.8 in mph, but that doesn't sound as fast.

That was my average speed in today's Chippenham 10 on the U47, a popular 'dragstrip' 10 mile course. In time terms, it gave me 19'26, which was good enough to win by 10 seconds from Chris Ball, with Rob Pears another second behind. More impressive was my occasional training partner Stu Dodd did an unofficial 18'59 after having had his entry lost in the post. That's quick!

I haven't done a quick 10 since my 19'45 on the V718 a year and a half ago, so didn't know what to expect. It didn't look fast as it was chilly (10 degrees ish when I set off) and the wind was blowing a bit from the west but it was sunny. The course runs SE-NW so it was a tail crosswind out, head/cross back. And the return leg is uphill, so you really want a southerly to blow you back.

My start time was 8:20am, meaning I had to leave home at 5:45 for the 50km ride up. It was just enough time to get up there, have a bit to eat, sign on, pin my number on and warm up. My legs felt OK and I had a power number in my head that I thought I could maintain, but it was not to be. Still, I made the best of what I did have.

<Switching to real time past tense mode>

5,4,3,2,1 go and I use the slip road to get up to speed, hitting 60km/h by the time I'm on the dual carriageway. Then it was just hold it and not push too hard on the outward leg to Cricklade.

There are two roundabouts at the turn, which is a bit of a pain (one is better). I get to the second one (5.1 miles/8.3km) in 9'34. Gary Woodward is there and shouts that I'm well up. Which I was as most of the faster guys hadn't ridden yet.

Sprint out of the roundabout and back onto the dual carriageway for the return leg, which I'm dreading. But despite being a head/crosswind and uphill, it's not too bad and I'm seeing speeds in the high 40s. I flick the computer over to distance and start to work out how fast I need to cover the remaining kilometres to do a 20, 19 or ... an 18. Pretty fast, it turns out.

5km in 6mins will give me an 18. This is not possible with an uphill headwind finish. 5km in 7'30 (40km/h) will give me a 20'30. That would be poor. Let's hope I don't slow down.

The equation looks better at 4km to go. 6min (40km/h) will give me a short '20' but 5min (48km/h) will give me a short 19. Unlikely. 3km to go and I'm pretty sure I can ride it in 4min (45km/h), despite the headwind starting to bite. The numbers distract me from the effort, which is both a help and a hindrance.

It gets hard for the last bit and I stop calculating. Dig in, don't lose too much speed and get everything out. I can see the average power dropping as I get closer to the end, a consequence of going out a wee bit too quick. But I can do it and lift it as the road turns into the wind and steepens.

Last km and it's hurting as it always does but I know I'm on for a decent time so push through it. I've got a bit left for a small sprint up the finishing sliproad and that's it. Done.

The computer says 19'26 and this is later verified by Mike and Sheila, the time keepers. Nice! That's a PB by 19seconds.

I don't think it'll be good enough to win, so roll back to the HQ to get sorted, have a cuppa and some fruit cake and chat to the others. A lot aren't happy with their times as it was a little cold and windy. This course can and does get a lot faster, on the right day but today wasn't that bad.

I crane over the crowd in front of the results board to see what the quick riders did. James Wall DNS, Rob Pears 19'37 (we're usually pretty close) and then, surprise, Chris Ball 19'36. He's done an 18'51 so is pretty rapid and I was shocked to beat him. However he has had quite a few back problems so I'm sure is not at his best. Stu's happy with his unofficial 18'59 though. He is flying.

And to cap it off, we were second in the team prize too with Andy Cook and Matt Griffin. Nice one chaps!

Next up: Bristol South 10 next Saturday. Goal: sub-20'30.


Tejvan Pettinger said...

nice time for conditions. That's very fast

Jeff Jones said...

Thanks Tejvan - hope to see you in a race sometime this year.