The last month has been one of wedding planning stress and way too many hours in the office. Cycling was sort of haphazardly squeezed in whenever I had a bit of time which sadly wasn’t much.
And then suddenly it was time for the National 50 Championship on an undulating course near Poole (see course link: http://www.mapmyride.com/gb/poole-eng/bjw-50-14-4-route-264788205).
I wasn’t very well prepared having done just 1 turbo session and about 1 day of commuting in the week leading up to the event, but still wanted to do it. On hindsight I am very glad that I drove up the day before because the drive took a bit more out of me than expected and it was good to check out the course by car and get a better picture in my head of which direction to go at the many roundabouts. The freshly gritted section that got me worried when seeing pictures on the TT forum, actually had settled in nicely and wasn’t too much of a worry (just a bit of an energy drainer).
The next morning, after a good night sleep at a local B&B, I was pleased to see the forecasted heavy downpours and thunderstorms were nowhere to be seen. I suspect that it was because I had never done a 50m TT before that I was set of quite early (6th on the start list). Two out of five in front of me were DNSers though and the other three I caught within 5-10mins and then it became a very lonely ride out in front with nobody catching me but also nobody to try to catch or nobody to pace myself with. I tried to judge my efforts based on the numbers from my powermeter and heartrate monitor, but wasn’t really sure what numbers to aim for. Some of the girls had someone along to give them timings which made me wonder if I maybe should have taken this event a bit more seriously.
The course was actually easier to navigate than expected and was very well marshalled throughout with marshalls clearly indicating which way to go. The course profile was a little bit too hilly to my liking. It only had 518m of total ascent over 50 mile, but still… not ideal for a heavier rider like me. It was a good mix of dual and single carriage way and, as we were set off so early, it felt quite safe to me and luckily I wasn’t held up by traffic at any point. The finish came sooner than expected and I crossed the line in 02:03:59 for my first ever national and my first 50mTT, feeling quite happy but also a bit too fresh.
The atmosphere back at the HQ was really nice with some familiar and some new faces and of course cake! In the end I came 5th, which I am quite happy with.The numbers 1 and 2 (Hayley and Emily) both went under the 2hr mark, and Bronwyn who came third had a pretty good ride too. So the goal now is to do another 50mTT and try to get under 2hrs 😉
For full results see: Result Details Nat50 TT Women 2014
For the next day I had ambitiously entered the WLCA 25mTT on the H25/2 course, mostly because I wanted to try out a new 25m TT course and was curious what this ski slope was all about. Well… I found out… it is not for me, I am too much of a chicken for such fast descents! I liked the first flatter section of the A404 which has lovely smooth tarmac, but then as you turn onto the A4 the surface becomes a bit more challenging. By the time I reached the turn, I already knew that my power was appalling, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the willpower and/or strength in my legs to rectify things. Still, I managed a PB of 00:59:02 (which was good enough for the win), tried a new course and got to cycle in the sunshine on a non-windy morning, so can’t complain. Looking back at the numbers though, I can see I rode the 25 at about the same power as the 50 the day before. Whaahhaa I am definitely a diesel, but lets see what time and power I can do next time on fresher legs.
Perhaps it would have been a good time to take some rest after two back to back races but they were short (for me). As I had a day off, I met up with my coach today and worked on smooth steady power, cornering on the TT bike (which I suck at even on my road bike) as well as position. It was good fun and the video shows that my position is not as bad as I thought. I just need to focus on dropping my head and practicing the ‘turtle’ a bit more.
The funniest bit (for me) came at the end of the session when I stupidly screwed up some gear changes and got the chain badly stuck between the frame. As I couldn’t turn the pedals any more, Rich kindly offered to push me all the way to Sigma Sport in Hampton Wick….a decision he may have regretted half way through…Haha…I guess a coach never expects having to push a rider so literally! Thanks Rich, great service indeed:-)
OK, so now I am off for another first (and I intend to do that only once)….. I am getting married tomorrow!!! We will also be straight off to celebrate it over the weekend with a great wedding party in the Ardennes in Belgium. And yes I have convinced my non-cycling fiance that my bike should come along for the odd early morning ride 😉