Sunday 25th May was the Hounslow and District CC 100 mile time trial on the A31 Bentley Course. After writing an article on 100 mile pacing, training and eating – it was time to see if I could put any of the theory into practice.
Conditions were relatively good. Definitely not as bad as the last time I grovelled around the Bentley Course in the Charlotteville CC 50.. But, it was still a bit windy.
Before the race, I left a bottle by the Hen and Chicken pub. It was a good job, as I found that was where the start was, I hadn’t done this course before. The first lap was pretty good. I felt it was one of those days when you had quite good legs. Occasional looks at power meters made me back off a little. It’s hard not to go out too fast in a 100. The interesting thing is that on the fast tailwind sections, if you reduced your power from 280 watts to 240 watts, you seem to stay at the same speed anyway. I went through 25 miles in 54.53 (it was very well organised event, with times taken at 25, 50 miles and the finish.)
After previous 100s where I’d got my feeding wrong, I was trying to stick to strict schedule; so after 25 miles, I took first energy gel. The problem was that I’d taped it to the Time trial frame with sellotape. As I took it off, it exploded all other the place. I got that nasty sticky stuff on my legs, hands, bike and handlebars – pretty much everywhere apart from in my mouth. It was a good job, it wasn’t my only gel. I had a plan to take after 25 miles, but this happened to be just before a roundabout, which had rumble strips on. This made it even more difficult to to deal with. I went round roundabout with empty gel wrapper in my mouth. Then I couldn’t decide what to do with empty wrapper. I’m not a big fan of the Rules – but I do agree with the rule about not throwing litter by side of road. I couldn’t bring myself to throw empty wrapper by road, but I didn’t want to stuff it down my skinsuit. So undecided, I ended up carrying it my hands for about 5 miles. Eventually, I threw it into a layby and made a note to pick it up after the race. But my hands were terribly sticky and for a while it felt like my fingers were glued to handlebar tips.
Apart from the exploding gel incident it was relatively incident free race. In fact, I really enjoyed the first 50 miles. I suppose ‘enjoy’ is a relative term. But, it was nice to be going at a good speed, without killing yourself – especially on the smooth tarmac parts. I went through 50 miles in 1.50.33 – almost 4 minutes quicker than last 50 mile TT.
As the miles and laps wore on, the inevitable tiredness creeped up. It was getting harder and harder to keep the power up. After averaging 271 watts, the average began to fall. But, the good thing is on the tailwind section, you could really take it easy, but still keep good speed. I saved the diminishing efforts for the hard uphill and headwind sections.
As the race wore on, the bumpy road surface between Holybourne and Chawton became increasingly annoying. When you’re light, the bumps seem to bounce you all over the place, and it seems to remind you of all the pain you have in places like neck, groin, back, e.t.c.
After 4 laps, I’d drunk 1.8 litres of energy drink, and it was time to pick up my spare bottle by the Hen and Chicken. Unfortunately, I’d chosen one of fastest places on the course. I was sailing up the smooth road close to 30mph. There’s no elegant way of coming to complete stop from 30-0 mph, dismounting fumbling around in grass for bottle and energy gel, picking up spare bottle and throwing away old one. It really hurt the legs to stop and get back on bike. That was a real break to the rhythm. The last lap (20 miles) were predictably the hardest – and it really felt like I was grinding away. But, the speed never got disastrously low. I finished in a time of 3.44.00 – which was a pb by 2 and half minutes.
I was pleased with race. I got energy and drink just right. Pacing was too fast to start off. The second 50 miles took an extra 4 minutes, and power a lot lower. But, it’s always nice to get a pb. And hopefully, there’s more to come.
It’s a shame about the ruts on the road because otherwise it would be a great course. It was a big effort by Hounslow and District and the VTTA (who were running the VTTA national 100 in conjunction)’ that helped get a bumper entry with 140 riders.
Adam Topham (Current BBAR champion) (High Wycombe CC) won in a time of 3.40.05 (his 50 mile split was 1.48.05) Paul Gamlin (Northover VT) did 3.43.45 and – I think I finished 3rd overall.
You always learn a few things doing a 100. My legs are really tired now, after riding to start and picking up discarded bottles and gel wrappers it was over 120 miles; if I had a Stanna stair lift, I’d definitely use it.
Average power for 100 miles – 256 watts
av. speed 26.8 mph
av. cadence 95
- 1 hour – 271 wats
- 2 hour – 269 watts
- 3 hour – 261 watts
2,920 ft of climbing
10 mile laps