Author's Musing

A Ride in Pictures

It’s getting near the end of the season. I’ve written enough words. So here it is in pictures:

I have a battle with this course:

You ride between roundabout A, and roundabout B. Last year I had a good day and did it in 1.03.22. This year I’ve attempted it 3 times:
1) It tipped it down and I DNSed (couldn’t see road)
2) I came back from touring and managed 25 watts less than normal and got an awful time.
3) As below:

The weather predicted was both of these:

It was also a day when I was faced with this when I woke up:

Which if you’re a women you might understand usually means I need these:

But I got to the start anyway (lots of people didn’t – start sheet was littered with DNS and had quite a few DNF by the end.)

At first, it was doing this:

But this didn’t start for a few miles. When it did – it wasn’t exactly drizzle – this was proper rain:
The result of:
On a TT bike feels a bit like:
I didn’t have any real incidences except when one of these passed me:
Which blew my whole being sideways a bit scarily.
The course goes out, back, out, back – so you did benefit from a massive tail wind one way, but that was ruined a bit by the hell of the headwind and no amount of puff behind you will counter the amount of mph that slows you down by (think speeding up to 27mph but slowing down to 20mph – it doesn’t average at 25mph, sadly!)
Anyways, I went out (hell), came back (wee!!! but being a bit careful of impaired vision due to rain and concern for passing cars). Some studies suggest rain can speed you up (effect on rolling resistance, atmospheric drop etc etc) that might be true if you ride with no care for what you might hit – but I’m not so sure I’m one of those people.
Got to roundabout to find:
Ok – not that bad! But 2 cars queueing to go round, so I had to actually STOP behind them. Then when I got on the roundabout some van decided to pull out in front of me and dawdle round it (I actually heard a marshal tut and say “that’s terrible” – wanted to shout “I KNOW!”)
Then I went back out again (urgghhhh!!) – this is where I had the ad-van experience.
The miles literally were SO SLOW. I kept looking down. Usually you’d see you’d done an extra 2, 3, maybe 5 miles before next check. I was checking every half a mile – horrible. Thankfully my heart rate was about 190-194 most of the way out and about 186-190 all the way back so I knew I couldn’t go much harder.
Finally got to final turn. And THIS came past me:
Ok – not on this bike – obviously. But having the lovely lady who writes out your training plan every few weeks pass you with about 5 miles to go is incentive enough to make you think (and say!) “F^%k” (not sure if she heard me?) and pick it up a bit.
I overtook number 8 (I think?) who I’d been chasing a while (too long!). Then some bloke in blue kit with a black disc. A minute later he overtook me on a descent. I overtook him on the next hill. He overtook me on a.. you get the idea. In the end I came past him again and said: “sorry, not doing this on purpose” and never saw him again. It was pretty annoying because whenever this sort of situation arises you need to make it clear you are not doing:
I didn’t realise there was a rule that once caught you are meant to let someone go and not play chicken with them – but apparently there is so he should have apologised to me, actually, for totally breaking my rhythm. That being said he couldn’t help it if I was faster on hills and he was faster on descents – anyway, on the last overtake I put a bit of distance between us which dispelled the situation.
Heart rate had been above 190 for quite a long time and I felt a bit:
However –  I was on track for a 1.03. About 2 miles in I’d decided it was never going to be a PB day, and I was mainly just riding for training and to finish safely. From the start, I’d seen this one as mainly a test of adherence to the rules… 
So realising I was doing ok was nice.
In the end I got a 01.03.48.
A little slower – but here’s the (tester like and obsessive!) analysis:
2012 still, non windy day winning time: 50mins
2013 windy nasty day winning time: 51.40
2012 day, Person X (I can only find two shared results to compare – it’s nothing personal but you have to have someones times to aim for and it is of course a compliment!): A late 01.01
2013 day, Person X: A short 01.03
2012 day, Michelle Arthurs: 01.03.22
2013 day, Michelle Arthurs: 01.03.48
Hopefully all that suggests I’m getting better as I’m closer to person X’s time that I was last year. Of course, it’s hard to say since it depends upon Person Xs form but it’s a suggestion.
After the women and the first 20 (ish – I’m estimating) men finished, the rain stopped and I heard someone at HQ say the wind had started to die down a bit. At least for us, it was quite fair – it was raining and blowing for all of us. Some men would have had rain and wind, whilst others had no rain and (I’m told) less wind- so there is an argument that skews their results a bit. That being said, I wouldn’t be complaining if I was the last bloke off!
The event was run really very well by the promoting club, North Hampshire Road Club – they had results in very quickly, pictures on loop in the hall pretty much immediately, a fantastic array of post race food (including flapjack and pastries.. good for those of us who can’t stomach and don’t want cake, and gluten free offerings for Lizzy, too). Marshals were fantastic – and organiser Maggie who helped me out when my entry wasn’t received with the first batch was a legend too, putting me on the reserves immediately which with 30 female starters is a guaranteed place.
Also – of course – great to see 30 female starters and a competitive field. Not a PB – but I’m ok with that considering the conditions 🙂

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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