>West London Combine 25m TT and a trip to The Miniaturists


A day of two halves.

The morning began with a 6.30am alarm. Off to a lay-by under a motorway bridge (ah! the glamour) for the second West London Combine event of the season – a 25 mile time trial organised by Hillingdon Triathletes with some marshals being stumped up by the Willesden as well. I offered to supplement the marshals but Dave, the organiser, suggested that I ride. I should have insisted…

It was a beautiful day: warm(ish), still(ish), dry and sunny. The Amersham Road course (the HCC113) is always tougher out to the turn, but the gentle breeze made it seem easier than usual. I knew I wasn’t on top form (a tough training week this week and a Calshot velodrome session the day before left my legs feeling like… sore legs). I did think, however, that my course personal best of a couple of years ago (a middling 1h 6m) would be easily achievable. As it turns out, I know nothing.

Photo by Ron Purdy. Bike by Peter D. You can see how miserable I was after the race

I crawled to the turn (feeling ok, just slow) and accelerated towards home. I was lacking power when the road kicked up, but nothing fatal. So I was surprised and embarrassed to finish with a course worst of 1:9:25. While club mate Peter turned in a course best of 1:1:14 for 7th place and Simon took three minutes of his PB for a 1:3:37 I was… riding quite slowly.

As ever, in these circumstances, I turn to the records and the data to search for clues – My RHR has been slightly high for the last couple of weeks. I’ve been trying to catch up on last weekend’s lost training (I know, I know) and might have overcooked it. It’s the first time this season I’ve used big gears. I’ve never actually done a fast ’25’ in March, and so on and so on.

The race data shows a low-ish average heart rate. This is partly due to some hard sessions this week (but I had an easy Friday) and largely, I think, due to a lack of effort. Pat reckons my new-found pre-race calmness (she said lack of “nervous energy” which is better than her previous term: “going daft”) might be to blame. She suggests finding something to psyche myself up before a race – code for HTFU I suspect.

The speed figures are very strange. I was actually slower than 20mph average for the first 12.5 miles (37:55 = 19.78mph) and came back in 31:30 (23.81mph). That’s a big swing even on a gently uphill first half. I suspect that I didn’t start racing until it got easy.

Race stats: Time: 1:09:25 (21.61mph). First 12.5 miles: 37:55, last 12.5 miles: 31:30. Top speed: 34.8mph. Slowest mile (3): 3:22 (17.82mph), fastest miles (21 and 24): 2:21 (25.53mph). Average HR: 148bpm, maximum HR: 159bpm. 28 of 49 finishers. Winner: Steve Golla (High Wycombe CC) 58:33.

After a rather glum journey home, Pat and I headed off to Dalston for the latest Miniaturists show at the Arcola Theatre. Five well-written, well-presented short plays – a great evening out. It turned the day around. Thanks, minis.

One thought on “>West London Combine 25m TT and a trip to The Miniaturists

  1. >Hi Lance – I was worried by your comments after the race yesterday and I've spent some time thinking of the right thing to say to cheer you up and encourage you. Then I read this… You say you've increased your training load and spent the day at a velodrome the day before and you wonder why you didn't go well? Lance! Tired legs will simply not do what you want them to do, no matter what your attitude towards the race (in fact, the fatigue is likely to make you feel mentally jaded as well, which would account for your very uneven splits – your return leg was as fast as in your 1.06).I rode well because I did nothing but light spinning from Thursday to Saturday. You've got to be physically and mentally fresh to ride fast – you know that! Times don't matter yet anyway. It's March. There's nothing to worry about. You're a good rider and the form will come.

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