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Archive for August, 2012

Against the clock in the UK

Posted by fenner on August 22, 2012

It was nearly 6 years since I last went back to the UK to catch up with family and friends and this was possibly a little too long a time period. Sally and I were heading back for nearly 5 weeks and had an action packed agenda planned with Paris, the Olympics and for me lots of racing.

With the cycling scene in the UK booming it was a great time to go back to the mother land and with Wiggo and team GB dominating at the tour and the Olympics the Brits were fully frothing over racing bikes and every man and his dog were out there smashing it up on 2 wheels. With Sally’s mum and dad living in Ringwood right on the New Forest in South West England the riding and racing options were amazing and I could basically compete in 3 – 5 x 10 to 25 mile time trails each week if I wanted and most of these could be ridden to in less than 30 mins from the door. This easy availability of racing over the long light summer evenings was something I had missed about the UK.

After getting over the jet lag of the long haul flight I fronted up to the Bournemouth Arrows evening 10 mile club champs for my first race on the Sopley P311 course. It was an out and back 10 miles on roads that actually made the Aussie roads look quite lively ;o) The local gun rider was James Gilfillan and he was starting as my minute man, so, the race was on. I felt a little tired on the first race, but, maintained a 350 watt average and came home narrowly missing catching James for a 20.35 and a new course record. I was stoked as this was previously held I was told by Daniel Lloyd in his full Cervelo kit, not a bad result for sure.

I managed to win the next 2 events one held on a wet and windy night by New Forest CC on the P301 course in 21.30 and then another Bournemouth Arrows event with a 20.49.

Nice and tight for the course record

My old team mate Chris Mcnamara had lined me up to ride a 2 up TT with him in a Surrey League event on the very sporting and lumpy 26 mile Staplefield course on the Saturday and I had then lined up to race the Bognor 25 the following morning. It was ambitious as I was drinking too much and sleeping on pull out beds and really not getting the recovery I needed after full gas efforts, but, in for a penny in for a pound.

The Saturday of the 2 up dawned sunny, but, windy and with Nick Hutchins the bronze medallist in the recent British TT Champs on the start sheet it was not going to be an easy day. After a good warm up we felt ok and opted not to use the deep fronts as the wind was gusty and control on the fast descents was more important than the extra speed obtained from the better wheels. This was a good call as it turned out as it was windy on the back side of the course and holding onto my 90mm front would have been a right handful.

We started with our main rivals as our 2 minute men and I controlled the pace from the start with the aim of overpowering the climbs and trying to maintain 400+ watts and then recovering on the downs. On the first climb with the red mist I slightly overcooked it and coming over the top I struggled to then hold Chris as he came through. This over cooking the first 5 mins really hurt and it took nearly 30 mins to get back into the race and feel ok again. On the climbs I was carrying a little to much weight having put on a few kg’s and was hanging in there. On the flats I felt fine and tried to do as much work there as possible. As a team we worked well and came in under the hour in 58.48. We didn’t know it, but, we had won by nearly 2 minutes and were the only team under the hour for the day, STOKED.

We celebrated with a recovery lager on the way home and then got stuck into a lively bottle of Rioja with dinner ;o)

I woke at 5am slightly dusty and said my goodbyes to Chris who was off to a road race and toddled off to the Bognor 25. The morning’s conditions looked good with just a light wind and blue sky. I was kicking myself as a 50 minute 25 would have been on the cards for sure on such a good morning if the legs felt ok, I got an early start and overtook all the 5 riders in front of me by the half way point, but, I was struggling to maintain the power and holding 320 felt like 360 watts. The best I could do was stay aero and bring it home. I finished with a 53.20 for the 25 miles, but, an average power of only 305 watts nearly 50 watts down on threshold :o( I won the TT by just over a minute, but, oh what could have been with fresh legs.

The last race before I came home was another Bournemouth Arrows 10 and I was keen to see if I could break my course record and maintain my unbeaten run in the UK. The evening was not kind with quite a strong headwind on the outward leg, but, I knuckled into the ride and hit the numbers to the turn. I was feeling quite good and the power was right up there, unfortunately a slow car around the turn held me right up and I had to break heavily and slow right down all the way around the turn. I smashed it on the return leg and narrowly missed my record by 5 seconds!!! I am sure it would have been a 20.15 or maybe even faster if I had not got held up, oh well maybe next time.

All in all, the UK trip was amazing and I would like to thank all the clubs that welcomed me and allowed me to race. It is a very special scene and supported by an amazing bunch of generous individuals who give up their time to look after these races. I would also like to thank all my sponsors, Dean and Gen from Torq Australia, you guys rock and without the best product on the market I couldn’t race and recover as I do. The Cube bike and Sram equiptment is simply the best and allows me to just concentrate on the job at hand and that is putting as much power to the pedals as possible. Big thanks to Aussie Butt Cream and GO2 for their continued support.

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