>Personal Best


A personal best two weeks running! This one is a bit special though. Today I beat my PB for 50 miles by about a minute and a half. This is a PB set in 1980. That makes it the first time that I’ve improved on one of the standard distance (10, 25, 50, 100, 12hr) PBs since coming back.

The event was the Finsbury Park CC ’50’ on the Tempsford (F1/50) course – the third time in three years that this event has given me a season’s fastest.

It was an early start as I was dropping the family off at Heathrow on the way to the event. Dawn revealed a still, cool day. I gambled on it getting warmer (short sleeves) but it never really did. There were patches of light drizzle throughout the event.

The only slight panic was caused by a broken shoe, but it seemed to hang together for the duration.

The first few miles revealed that the legs were not in good form. I did an interval session on Tuesday which left me with aching legs for Wednesday. Thursday night’s session at Hillingdon was brutal as well. I’d ridden easily on Friday and had taken yesterday off, but the legs were still a bit wasted. I couldn’t maintain my usual (pathetic) cadence and was slogging a big gear.

Luckily the F1 is pretty flat, so there are no places where a big gear will stall you. I just kept turning the gear over, accelerating slowly where I could and hanging on where I couldn’t.

I took a 500ml bottle of carb drink which I pretty much emptied. I also took four caffeine gels but I couldn’t work out how to open them on the move without slowing down (you can see the ends of two of them poking out of my sleeves in the second photo). At least they had a day out.

The lack of sustenance might explain the struggle I had over the last three miles. The second photo was taken with about two miles to go, and I wasn’t sure that I was going to make it.

Both photos by Dave Jones – many thanks.
Despite the slow finish the second 25 miles was faster than the first – in fact the pace was pretty consistent throughout. Both halves of the race were faster than my current season’s best for ’25’ – where are all the 25m TTs?
Race stats: Time: 2:03:08 (24.36mph). First 25 miles: 1:01:55, last 25 miles: 1:01:13. Top speed: 33.0mph. Slowest mile (19): 2:47 (21.56mph), fastest mile (11): 2:09 (27.91mph). Average HR: 159bpm, maximum HR: 166bpm. Average cadence: 74rpm. ? of ? finishers. Winner: Brian Walker (Team Swift-Allsports) 1:47:53.
The rest of the day has been wasted sleeping through the Canadian F1 Grand Prix and ignoring the football. Beer has been taken. I’m pretty chuffed with that ride.

2 thoughts on “>Personal Best

  1. >It's always nice to get a pb. I never get round to opening energy gels in a 50. It's better to have a few just before start. I'd take a 750ml bottle too.

  2. >Thanks, Tejvan. I'd planned to take a 750ml bottle but it didn't fit in the frame! 'Planned' is probably not the right word there.

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