The forecast for today’s time trial was for “white cloud”, with quite gentle winds. And so it turned out (though there was a little. The event was held on the F1/50, which covers the A1 between the Sandy and Buckden roundabouts at the southern and northern points of the course (see map at the end of this report). I was feeling a little nervous – this was the first ’50’ in a couple of years, and I think the first time I’d ridden the northern section of the A1 that comprises the F1 courses since the unfortunate death of a time triallist a year ago.
The course heads south, starting on the minor road running parallel to the A1 – I started at a reasonably steady pace southbound, and joined the A1. Once on the A1, I settled into a pretty good rhythm, but pretty soon found I has a “masculine discomfort situation”. As it turned out, I put up with this for about 30 miles – but more later. After turning at the Sandy roundabout, the northbound leg seemed a bit tougher. I passed through the Black Cat roundabout with no problems, then at about 11 miles started catching riders.
At the Buckden roundabout, the course retraces to the Sandy roundabout, which comes just after the halfway point. At around 26 miles, I decided to have drink of energy drink, and shortly after was caught and passed by Ross Clarke (who eventually finished in 3rd place). Once round the Sandy turn, I stupidly tried to rearrange my skinsuit (as a consequence of the aforementioned “masculine discomfort situation”), which nearly ended in disaster when I snagged the skinsuit on the saddle and came horribly close to crashing. I imagined the headlines: “Timetriallist crashes while massaging goolies!”, grinned and settled back into a rhythm. As before, the northbound leg was a little easier, and the final turn is at about 39 miles (at least on my bike computer). heading south once more, it was mostly a case of hanging in against mounting fatigue. Once across the Black cat for the final time, the going gets unexpectedly tough, particularly (and annoyingly) when in sight of the race HQ in the Stuart Memorial Hall!
At last! a car parked in a layby! Surely this must be the finish. I switched the computer to show elapsed time. Unfortunately this was a false alarm, and it was the photographer on the course a second time. Rats! Had to dig deeper to keep it rolling to the real finish.
As far as I can tell, this is probably my fastest ’50’ for some years, and after searching the CTT website, possibly since 2004, when I won the North Middx & Herts CA ’50’ in 1:55:35. So far this season, I’ve improved my times at 10, 25 and 50 miles to speeds not seen for several years. So why is this? While it’s undoubtedly contributed to by the new bike (which allows me to ride in a very aero position), I like to think that the new training regime in which I train BEFORE work, rather than AFTER work (which was becoming increasingly difficult) is at least partly responsible. I’ve also been monitoring my turbo sessions closely, using the Polar CS600X power meter.
1. Brian Walker, Team Swift. 1.47.53
2. Antony Stapleton, Chelmer CC 1.47.55.
3. Ross Clarke Team M Keynes. 1.48.06
4. Dave Kendall. Finsbury Park CC 1.49.04.
5. Chris Birch East Street Cycles. 1.50.45.
6. J Moffatt. Team Spirit. 1.51.20.
7. Tim Davies, Icknield RC. 1.51.23.
Then some way further down the results, me with 1:57:45
View Finsbury Park ’50’ 13/6/10 in a larger map