Paul Bennett Memorial 25 mile TT

Today was the Paul Bennett Memorial 25 mile TT organised by Hemel Hempstead CC on the F13/25 (A41) from Ambrosden towards Aylesbury. I train near these roads quite frequently – not on the A41, but the lanes surrounding it. I must go through Ambrosden 2-3 times a week.

Paul Bennett was a timetriallist from around this area who raced for many years. Amongst other things he broke the UK competition record for 25 miles in 1965 with a time of 53.31. The record took over half a minute off the previous record by M.J.V. Burrow and he became the first man under 54 minutes. By coincidence my time today was fairly close, just a bit slower – a time of 53.42 Of course times between the 1960s and 2010s are not comparable given modern technology. For point of reference the current 25 mile record is 45.43 (Matt Bottrill).


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H10/22 – London West CA

Until yesterday, I hadn’t done a 10 mile time trial for ages – but, like the proverbial buses, two have came along together this weekend. Today was supposed to be a 25 mile time trial on the H25/2 course, but roadworks on the A4 put paid to that. Still, it was good to get a race at all, and the way my legs felt, I wasn’t too dissappointed it was cut short.

Without any particular fast 25 mile times in the past three years, I was seeded number 40, off at 8.10am. This meant a relatively early start – especially after racing last afternoon.

I always struggle to race early in the morning, and today was no different. Yesterday I averaged 338 watts and felt I was flying. Today I was 20 watts lower – 318 watts, and it felt pretty grim. The spark just wasn’t there. I felt like an old motor car, which was struggling to get into fifth gear. I can’t complain too much though, I still managed to scrape in another 30mph ride. 19.59 for the 10 miles on the A404 (H22/10) course.

I’ve never done a 10 mile TT on this course before. But, it is a fairly fast dual carriageway so times are relatively quick. There isn’t much climbing, though there is a little drag towards the end of the first half. There was a light northerly wind and pleasant sunshine. It might have been a super-quick day, but for the big block of high pressure sitting over Europe.

There was a time when I spent several seasons trying to do a 30mph ride, I had a succession of times sub 20.10, but never made the magic 19, but now the 30mph+ rides seem to be coming in droves (well perhaps ones and twos). But, I’m not alone in getting  30mph + rides. It’s amazing how much times have improved in the past few years in timetrialling – it seems people are really learning the art of aerodynamics – pushing down times through cutting down on drag. By the way, the BBC have stated Bradley Wiggins has a reported CdA of 0.176 – I don’t really know what this means, except that Wiggins is super-aerodynamic and will cut through the air very fast)

18 is the new 19

The problem is that with all these technological improvements is that a 19 is now no longer the holy grail it once was. Of course, there was a time when riding a 25 mile under the hour, was quite an achievement – that seems a bit quaint now. They say in the 2010s an 18 is the new 19 or on the V718 a ’17  is the new 19. (I appreciate that last sentence sounds like gobbledygook, and if you’re not immersed in the sub-culture of UK timetrialling, it probably is!)

Back to more meaningful comparisons of performance. What position did you finish?

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H10/8 – N.Hampshire R.C.


The H10/8 time trial course is on the A31 Bentley bypass. It is one of my favourite courses because it is fairly local, quite fast, a few long drags to make it interesting and a fairly straightforward turn. The road surface is mostly good and smooth (not like the H50/8 which goes further West to Chawton).


There is 93 m of climbing over the 10 miles. It finishes a little lower down than the start.

Course record. I don’t know

But, on 23/05/2015 in the Farnham RC event

  • Rob Sharland (Paceline RT) 00:19:13 (CTT)
  • Julia Shaw (Drag2Zero) 00:20:58


Today, there was quite a strong headwind (17mph) from the West. It meant it would be hardest out to the turn at Holybourne roundabout. It is also hard for the first couple of miles because you climb a long drag.

I used to really dislike wind when timetrialling – it makes it harder and you go slower, but having a power meter makes wind more enjoyable. You might be going slower, but you can be comforted by the fact at least your power meter says you’re making a big effort.

With a strong headwind and uphill start, I went quite hard from the start, aiming to do the biggest effort into the wind.

Read moreH10/8 – N.Hampshire R.C.

Hounslow & District 100 mile TT 2015


After riding in the Pyrenees, everything else seems a bit of an anti-climax. Today was a 100 mile time trial on the H100/8 over the A31. It meant five circuits of a dual carriageway circuit, which is quite rough and ready in places. As you might imagine -a bit different to climbing the high mountains.

There was a full field of 120 riders plus 10 reserves – a good field for another excellent Hounslow promotion.

My preparation was nice and relaxed. No need for an hour on the rollers before a 100. The main thing is checking food and hydration and get yourself sorted. I was able to lend a spare training wheel to number 92 Harry Walton from Cheltenham, who got a last minute rear wheel puncture.


My bike was loaded with 2.1 litres of water and quite a few energy gels in that pouch on the top tube. (Though the gels were popping out of it on the A31 ridges – I lost one and caught another…)

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Charlotteville 50 mile TT 2015

It is the third consecutive year I have ridden the Charlotteville 50 mile TT on the Bentley (A31) H50/8 course. It is also the first standard distance, ‘non-sporting’ time trial I’ve done this year.


Even for a relatively fast dual carriageway course, it’s still a bit lumpy – 1,545 feet over 50 miles.

I finished in second with a time of 1.43.59. I was a little surprised with the time; it was quicker than expected. I have many memories of doing 50 mile time trials on this course and really struggling over the last couple of miles. Today, I seemed to have a little left in tank to go even harder in last 10 miles. I think it was a pb for a 50 mile TT, (if you exclude the superfast A50 course)

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Hemel Hempstead CC Open Hilly


Today was ‘The Sid Latchford Memorial’ 22 mile hilly promoted by the Hemel Hempstead CC. (course F11/22)

It is run on roads around Bagnall, Ivinghoe, Bison Hill and Dunstable Downs. There are two main climbs of Bison Hill and Invinghoe hill. It is good course, with a fair balance between flattish roads, and testing hills.

On a good day, I can cycle from Oxford to Ivinghoe (about 40 miles), so I have done these climbs on a couple of occasions, but some roads were still new.


The weather forecast correctly predicted rain and strong wind; I was surprised at the lack of DNS for the race. It would have been easy to look at the forecast and stay in bed, rather than put the clocks forward an hour and go and get a good soaking.

When it’s raining, I don’t bother with a ‘warm up’ because I just get very cold. I got there late and sat in the car until 5 minutes to go. I was going to try a No Pinz wallet, but I didn’t have time and my skinsuit had got wet getting it out of the car. My warm-up consisted of riding 200m to the start and reluctantly taking off waterproof. Once I got racing, it was a bit better, but it was a tough day on the bike – pools of standing water, roughish road surface and gusting winds.

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RTTC Classic Series – Round 1 Stafford R.C

The RTTC Classic series is a series of six national CTT events which make a national time trial series. The series counts the combined score from your four best events. The events have been chosen to include some of the major time trial ‘classic’ events – on non standard distance over a variety of terrain. The aim is to give an added focus to riding ‘sporting’ non-standard distances.

See: Classic series at CTT


Personally I like the time trial series, because it makes a nice change to do interesting courses, rather than just look for ‘fast’ dual carriageway courses. With threats of more A roads becoming mini motorways, many feel these kinds of sporting courses are more likely to be the future of timetrialling.

In addition, my enthusiasm for sporting courses is also encouraged by the rather self-interested motive of doing better on any race that goes up hill!

Today was a 22 mile circuit (K48/23) around Utoxeter and Weston – an event very well managed and promoted by  Stafford Road Club. It includes 422m of ascent in 22 miles. There’s no major hills, just a few short sharp shocks. Overall, the course is reasonably fast, with a ‘relatively’ good road surface (actually very good for UK) and opportunities for some quick sections too.

Read moreRTTC Classic Series – Round 1 Stafford R.C

Ilkley CC 10 mile hilly TT

I came up to Yorkshire this weekend for two hilly time trials  for Mother’s Day, and fortuitously was able to do two cycle races as well. After 27 hilly miles on Saturday, the legs were not quite as good today. But, I still got round the Ilkley course in a good time. Just squeezing in a 25 mph ride, and taking a couple of seconds off the course record.


The course starts in Addingham and heads north on the B road towards Bolton Abbey. At Bolton Abbey, you turn left on the A59 up the long drag towards Skipton. The long drag averages only 2%, but it is a hard road, if the wind is in the wrong place. Then before Skipton, you turn left back towards Addingham on the A65.

If anything it felt colder than yesterday, I left the leg warmers on and concentrated on staying warm. You can often tell in the first miles, how you feel. Saturday I knew it would be a good ride, today, I knew it would be a bit harder. The wind was probably in the right direction – giving a little help up the long drag. But, on turning left back to Addingham, it was very hard work. Some side-wind gusts had me reaching for the handlebars. I managed to keep it going up the hill to the reservoir, because once you’ve made it there you only have a little bit of downhill to go. By the reservoir, I lost a bit of time getting stuck behind a slow moving bus. Still, it didn’t matter in the end because I held on for first place. Henry King (and previous course record holder) of the promoting club Ilkley CC was just five seconds behind. – King also rode the Circuit of Ingleborough and today it was a lot closer. 1st lady was Leanne Farrow of Ilkley CC, 3rd was Ben Jacobs of Alba Rosa and 2st junior Nathan Allatt (Holmforth CC) in a good time of 26.

Read moreIlkley CC 10 mile hilly TT

Circuit of Ingleborough 2015

Today was the Circuit of Ingleborough (L271) organised by Pendle Forest CC. It is a 27 mile hilly time trial from Ingleton to Settle – Ribblehead and back to Ingleton. I did it in 2014 and finished 4th.


The weather was cold, with an Easterly wind. But, this Eastery wind, seems to make the course quicker. I’m not sure why, but it made a big difference not having a head wind around Ribblehead.

The start is just to the east of Ingleton, and you climb a hill into the wind. I went quite hard here as I thought it would be the hardest part of the course. After going up and down Buck Haw Brow – you reach Settle; here the headwind changed to a side wind, making the rolling roads to Ribblehead a bit quicker than usual.

It is quite a technical course, with frequent changes of gradient. I was using a big range of gears from 39*23 to 56*11. On this kind of hilly course, electronic gears (Di2) make quite a difference; it is easier to keep the momentum going. There were a lot of marshalls out on the course, helping to navigate through tricky sections of the course, like narrow bridges and pinch points. It’s an interesting course and one of the more scenic. Every now and then you look ahead and see a wonderful scene of a snow capped hill in the distance; it doesn’t last for long though, as you have to put your head down and concentrate on riding.

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Banbury Star Hardriders 2015

Today was the Banbury Star Hardriders 23 mile time trial from Wroxton to Ettington going down and then back up Sun Rising hill. For the first race of the season two weeks ago, I was relaxed to the point of seeing it as another training ride. But, now I’m getting more accustomed to the idea of racing. I’ve done 2,400 miles since the start of the year. It’s an unprecedented amount of training for me, and I’m interested to see if it makes any difference to speed in short distance time trials.

Although I remember many Banbury Hard-rider events which are a lot colder (snow, ice and sub zero), I was still very cold warming up. I went for 3 pairs of gloves, 3 pairs of socks  Once I got racing, it didn’t feel that cold. There was a strong Westerly wind which made the first leg into the wind quite hard. My pacing strategy was to go as hard as I could into the wind and then try and benefit from tailwind on way back.

Descending Sunrising hill was a bit tricky. It’s a sharp left hander, but the main difficulty was strong head/cross wind. Coming off the climb was hard-work because gaps in the hedge caused strong gusts of winds into the side. I was holding on very tight to the side of the tribars, looking ahead for the gaps in the hedge. It took a long time before it was safe to get back on to the tribars. Going through the village of Ettingham is also a bit tricky because of parked cars and road furniture. There were a few minor hold-ups here, but not as bad as the last race I di. On the way back it was a big relief, to turn away from the difficult headwind. You can start to pick up a good speed without as much effort. I took an opportunity to hold back a little, trying to save something for the big climb of the race.


On Sunrising hill. Photo courtesy Richard Brian.

(Note to self: Wooly socks cost 4 seconds. Tape coming off visor 3 seconds.)

Read moreBanbury Star Hardriders 2015