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.