One of my season goals this year was as per the below:
Short 20 min 10TT – Had a TT bike for the end of this season, and now have some more of the right gear, skinsuit etc. Just need to sort out a disc wheel, then start playing with positions. Fairly sure I can start to be reasonably quick if I’m able to repeat/improve on the watts I had this year. Best 20min was 350w in 2016 (held that for 25mins, so room for improvement anyway), targeting 365w for 2017 with a stretch goal of 370w. – As above shows, right course, right day, right kit, I should be quite a bit above my most recent results, but we’ll see.
I sorted myself out with a disc wheel, and have made my bike a bit tidier too, but the main improvement has been the additional watts that have come with training. At the Bentley Xmas 10 I managed a 22:19 in not the worse conditions. However I’d only managed 319w, I held a terrible position on the bike owing to not being able to see out of my helmet, and I was on 60mm carbon clinchers as opposed to something quicker. So there was clearly bags of time on the table. Then last week with the bike more in order, I managed 309w for a 50:40 25m TT, albeit on a very quick course. Clearly a step up from the Xmas 10, so things were coming together.
So Good Friday was the H10/22 a supposedly pretty quick 10 course just near Marlow. On paper it didn’t look too quick to me with a roundabout to be navigated in the middle of the course, but previous times showed otherwise. The weather was looking ok, cold early in the morning, so not especially quick. Owing to a very average pb (22:19 as above) I was among the first riders off, at 7.07am. Unfortunately this meant a 5am alarm clock as well, so wasn’t sure how the legs would react to that, but good practice for the RP TTs for sure.
In any case, the roads were clear and I made it to the HQ in good time to get setup. Got all my gear on and headed out onto the roads to warmup. My Garmin (Edge 820) has been giving me issues where it fails to turn on. Garmin logo comes up, then it just goes blank. Bit of a gamble, but usually eventually it comes good. Don’t know what causes it but its very frustrating. Obviously being race day the garmin decides to play up, and I aimlessly ride around for about 20 minutes trying to get the bloody thing to fire up. Eventually about 10 minutes to the start it comes on, annoyed I go and bang out a few sprints to get the legs ready. By this point my hands are ready to fall off, no gloves and 5 degrees was unpleasant to say the least.
Onto the start line a minute before. I’m called up, and before I know it heading onto the course. First couple of minutes at 370w+ and the constant struggle to keep the power down. I’d mentally put a figure of 340w in my head as a target, I’ve done more in the past but was starting to feel stronger than earlier in the year. Anything more than this and I’d be pleased. By 5 minutes in the power average had come down to 353w, having negotiated the roundabout. I don’t have average speed on the garmin, but it felt pretty slow thanks to the uphill grind, but I felt pretty on top of my gears so just kept it going.
Things settled down from there to the halfway point, with a bit of downhill to give the legs some slight respite, however getting onto the roundabout I looked down to see over 11 minutes, and an average of 335w. At which point I was immediately disappointed as it felt like a 20 minute time had already gone, which looking back was pretty stupid given the return leg should have been a lot faster. Back onto the DC and I managed to park that thought, hoping for a faster return. After the brief rest of the roundabout, and a chance to come up out of the extensions I felt renewed, and settled back into position. Looking back at the race now, I didn’t really know what power I was doing at this point, I just was tucked in and trying to hold a big gear, but I’m surprised to see for the 5mins after the turn I did 357w at 30.1mph! A minute later and up to 40mph, I was fast approaching the rouandabout, traffic was clear, but I came out of the extensions and tried to carry as much speed as possible through.
Just 1.5miles left to ride, and looking down at the clock I could see I’d obviously gone a lot quicker on the return. I could see a long 19 may well be on. Knowing I was pretty safe from blowing up I tried to just empty the tank to the line, holding on to 400w for the last 2 and a half minutes. The finish board came up faster than expected, and after crossing the line I immediately looked down to see a number beginning with 19, and so my first 30mph TT! I’m slightly embarrassed I actually yelled “yesss” several times after rolling back toward the HQ. I was hopeful for a good time, but to smash the season goal and pick up a 19 felt superb. Just had to hope the timekeepers were on the same time to my Garmin now.
I rolled back to the HQ and packed away before heading in to sign out and try and see my official time, which had come back as a 19.55. Only Jamie Pine of Nuun had gone faster, with 19.38 at this point. However, in the fullness of time 5 others went faster still, with the winner recording an 18:41. Paceline RT also had James Hayden (19:46), Keith Lea (20:16) and Adam Stone (21:46).
So looking back now, obviously very pleased to have knocked one goal on the head so soon in the season. Looks like the goal itself may have been a bit soft, but when I set it only having done 22 minute 10s it didn’t feel like it was. Given the early start, I’m hopeful on another fast course/day I can shave a bit of time off that too, added to a better aero position and more watts I’m not sure if a long 18 might be on the table this year. With regards to power this still wasn’t a wattage PB, having held 350w for 25mins in the past. Given the nature of how I put the power down in the race too, I know I can do more. More training as well, and I’m sure I’m capable of 360w+ this year, the aim was always 370w but that feels like a big stretch at the moment.
All in, very chuffed with the time and looking forward to more TT’s. Next race is H25/8, a 25 on the Bentley course, followed by a road race near Watford. The following weekend is the May 3 Day, one of my season main goals, so I’m hopeful of a good showing the next couple of weeks!