>Finchley, Willesden and Arcola Street


Saturday: The Finchley Racing Team ran a series of crits at Hillingdon and I raced with the third categories for the first time. The weather was great. The race was not that different to the fourth cat races I’ve been doing all Winter – the pace was brisk and even and the riding standard was variable. What was different was the length of the race – 15 minutes more. Sure enough, at 50 minutes my legs lost their elastic and I was off the back for the final five laps. I set myself the task of avoiding being lapped and managed to achieve it. The race length was obviously one factor in my lacklustre performance, but it’s been a hard week training and I think that deadened the legs as well. My propensity to sit on the back of the bunch doesn’t help either.

The winner of the race was Tom Fitzpatrick (API-Metrow). The race stats were: position – ? of ? finishers, race distance – 25.8 miles, my race time – 1:4:39, average speed – 23.9mph, average HR – 155bpm, maximum HR – 167bpm, top speed – 29.7mph (the 1st mile), fastest mile (the 2nd) – 2:18 (26.1mph), slowest mile (the 25th) – 2:55 (20.6mph).

Sunday morning: The Willesden Cycling Club’s 70 mile reliability trial. I went with one of the middle groups but they burnt it up through Wendover and I was dropped after 30 miles (can you see a theme emerging?). I rode the last 40 hill-soddened miles solo and finished in about 4 hours 12 minutes. A hard, hard ride despite the excellent condition. With the ride to the HQ and back it became my longest ride on a bike for thirty years.

My TRIMP score for the ride was a surprisingly low 446 arbitrary units. On analysis (having a bit of a think) part of this is due to my heart rate being depressed by yesterday’s race effort. One of the problems of TRIMP scoring is that it relies on HR which is affected by factors other than pure training stress. Still, I’m beginning to get a measure of my training effect and, even if it is imperfect, I feel more in control.

Sunday afternoon: My slow progress on the reliability trial meant that I was late home and didn’t get a chance to eat before heading off for the early Miniaturists show at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston. Boris’s bus variations didn’t help the nerves, but we got there just in time to see six short plays of excellent quality. It was great to see some old friends as well. The Miniaturists is a wonderful, generous and talentful phenomenon. The next shows are in May. I think you should go.