This week I finally came off the medication that I hoped was suppressing my TT performances. The stuff is supposed to take a fortnight to clear the system, so I wasn’t expecting immediate results.
The picture was taken in The Netherlands last week by Henny Postema – many thanks, Henny
Saturday was a fun day out. Willesden CC had hired Welwyn Velodrome for the day and 20-25 club members gathered for a couple of hours of swooping up and down the banking in the sun. Unusually for Welwyn there was hardly any wind which, combined with the unseasonal warmth, made for a great day. I was riding poorly, but it didn’t matter. I sprinted enthusiastically and ineffectively, lost wheels, bridged gaps, tried to bully Ray Kelly… all sorts of things. I (and several others) finished the day tired but uplifted. The star of the show was WCC’s multiple champion Jayne Paine. She was supposed to be taking it easy because she was racing at Herne Hill the next day, but show her a finish line and… She won the scratch race at the end by a country mile.
Sunday was an early start and a long drive to Tempsford for the Bedfordshire RCC 25m TT on the F1B/25 course. The ‘B’ version of the course is hillier than its F1/25 brother, but a decent ride nonetheless. The start was chilly. Despite it being a ‘slowest 90 riders’ event I was seeded in the second slowest group (on a ‘4’). Accordingly I expected to be caught early doors and to see no other riders ahead of me. I think the seeding was awry: I caught my minute person after about 10 miles and my three minute man after the turn. No one came past me.
Most of the climbing is on the way out, but there’s a little climb to the water tower on the way back. What wind there was was against on the return. That headwind really told in the last couple of miles.
I blew up a little with seven miles to go, but hung on and hung on to record 1:02:04. That’s an improvement of over 7 minutes on the previous best this year. I’s 83 seconds faster than I have ever gone in April before (and I won the event with my previous fastest). I am chuffed and relieved. And today I am as sore as hell.
The stats show a suppressed heart rate, probably because of the sprint efforts on the track the previous day.
Race stats: Time: 1:02:04 (24.17mph). First 12.5 miles: 30:56, last 12.5 miles: 31:07. Top speed: 36.0mph. Slowest mile (12): 3:04 (19.57mph), fastest mile (17): 2:03 (29.27mph). Average HR: 153bpm, maximum HR: 163bpm. Average cadence: 78rpm. 23 of 72 finishers. Winner: Tim Davies (Icknield RC) 55:56.
What changed? The course was good. The weather was good. I used my best wheels for the first time in the UK this year. All of these are factors, but I hope that the meds were also a factor in slowing me down. If so, things are looking brighter for May. Unfortunately, I only have a club event next weekend.
After lunch Pat and I planted a fig tree in the garden. We’ve planted very little because the garden is already well-established. But we had a fig tree at the last house which fruited heavily. If the new tree fruits it’ll make this place feel more like home.
In the evening we went to the Renoir cinema to see The Father of My Children. We’d never heard of it, but it’s a wonderful, strange film. With my teaching work I have to read a lot of books on how to write for film. None of them could explain how this film does what it does. Which makes me like it all the more.
That was a weekend, that was.