Today was Beacon Roads Mountain Time trial. 39.5 miles, including two tough climbs. The first 16 miles is rolling, then the second lap gets more hilly. The last climb of the day is Ankerdine, pretty steep on a TT bike when you’ve already raced 34 miles.
My last race was Buxton CC Mountain Time trial, nearly a month ago. It’s quite a long break from racing and I wasn’t sure how I’d go. Riding around a bumpy velodrome in New York at 22mph for an hour is a poor preparation for real racing.
The weather was decent, though colder than a month ago in Buxton, a northerly wind making it a little difficult in places.
My warm up was pretty good. I use nopinz arm bands, custom designed for super thin arms. They are easy to use than old fashioned safety pins. Though for some reason once I put the number in, I put them in my jacket pocket ‘to put on later’. Everything was going well with warm up. At five minutes to the start time, I was heading off to start, when for some reason, something jolted my memory and realised I’d left arm bands in a jacket pocket back in my car. It was time for quick choice – do the race without armbands and get disqualified or do a quick u-turn ride 500m to car, get arm bands and have a 50% chance of missing my start time. I felt like a gamble so turned round sprinted back to car, got out armbands and sprinted back to start line. I arrived and the guy said 1 minute to go. But, I still had to get my pusher off to zip up my skin suit (it’s impossible to do on your own), then it was squeezing the arm bands on. With 15 seconds to go, they were just about in place. Just time to tuck socks into overshoes and it was 5 seconds to go. It was a close call, and I just made it. Thanks to pusher off who helped just in the nick of time.
The first lap is relatively fast, though I will be losing time to the more powerful riders. At 16 miles, I got over-taken by in form Phillip Graves (Clifton CC). It was the same point on the course that Matt Bottrill overtook me last year. On the first climb out of Great Witley, I could see I was catching up Graves and getting closer. But, over the top my gears seemed to stop working. I couldn’t move my rear dereilleur or front derailleur. I was stuck in a 39*23 so was freewheeling down the hill. I worried it had run out of battery or something. After a while of trying to get it to work, I resigned myself to going around the course in 39*23 (there are worse gears to get stuck in on this course). At least I could do a couple of intervals up the hills. After a few miles of practically freewheeling it started to work again. I wasn’t sure whether I was happy or sad. Mentally I’d resigned myself to the race being over, but now I didn’t have that excuse anymore. Once you’ve mentally retired from racing, it’s hard to get back into time trial mode. I was also worried that my tribars were coming loose as the road surface was rough and I felt some movement. (Last year, they came off after a bolt sheared through). But, maybe it was just the bumpy surface.
The rest of the race felt like an interval session more than a time trial. I went hard up the hills, and then recovered on the downhills.
It’s a shame there is no longer a KOM competition for fastest time up the two hills. I might have won a prize. But, I can understand it is resource intensive and the prize ceremony was done in very quick time after final rider. Quick prize ceremonies are always highly valued by riders and everyone else.
I finished in a time of 1.37. I will make a guesstimate I lost one to two minutes due to unexplained mechanical, which would have given me a 1.35-26 something – the same as several other riders who all finished close to the podium. Overall I finished 7th. It was an eventful race, though next time, I will try to plan for something a little smoother.
It’s a shame that after the end of April, hilly time trials are few and far between. On the downhill I saw Graves fly away. On the uphill, I was slowly catching up. But, that’s the way it is. On the positive side there is only a few months to the hill climb season…
Previous results Beacon RC Little Mountain Time Trial
- 2016 – 7th | 1.37. (av. power 285 watts) (mechanical)
- 2015 – 3rd | 1.35.23 | (Blog) (Av. Power. 286 watts)
- 2013 – 3rd | 1.39.12
- Beacon RC. LMTT