I didn’t blog about the East Lancs RC 10 last weekend. To be honest I was too pissed off with my race that I didn’t want to draw that all back up. I am trying to keep training load up as much as I possibly can around racing, so didn’t expect a good result, which is fine, all part of the plan, although I did expect something half way competitive. My race however was completely torpedoed by a horse box pulling out on me requiring an extreme test of my brakes. It was very close, the closest I’ve been to a serious crash in a race. I never fully got back my mojo after that. I try and avoid using my rear brake as I know it sticks but I had no choice on this occasion, so that was rubbing for the 6 miles left. It’s frustrating as I knock out 10s every week at the club evening TTs but I haven’t managed to put a decent 10 together in an open yet. The following Tuesday I returned to the same course for the club 10 and knocked out my fastest 10.
That was then this is now…
Anyway this weekend was a bit better. All things going well I am aiming to do a decent 100 TT this year. In preparation I’m doing a few 50s and probably the Anfield 100 at end of month as a practice with the view to go well later in the season. So the early season Dukinfield 50 was a must.
The course is J4/16 which uses the usual Cheshire 25 (J2/9) roads with a little extension and simply loops a few times.
I had decided to stick to low level 4 power for the first lap or so to get settled and this seemed just about right. I’ve been doing some training rides at tempo for 1.5hr so I was confident that this power wouldn’t over stretch me early on. I was also feeling confident that I wouldn’t need to over think the nutrition aspect which in previous 50s I’ve over stressed about. On my tempo rides I don’t tend to drink or eat anything and the power and time would only be a bit more. With this confidence I had one High5 Isogel during my warm up and took a 500ml bottle of High5 Energy Source which I would sip as needed. I drank around half the bottle during the ride, of which I spat down myself a good amount. I think I need to practice drinking from a bottle without blowing myself up with air. Luckily it was a warm day and I benefited from the cooling.
At first I was a bit disconcerted about the speed I was achieving for the power I was putting out. I knew the average speed I was hoping to do for the power and it was way off. Eventually I discovered that my expectations regarding wind direction were a bit off. As the course began to turn back the speed came up and I was pleased to see my average speed rising to what I had expected.
My average dipped a bit when I got stopped to a standstill at one of the junctions on the first lap. After which I leapt out of the saddle in frustration which irritated a bit of a knee niggle I’ve had for a couple of days from messing with my cleat stance width. This persisted for the rest of the ride which prevented me from being aggressive in some of the dips and rises on the course. Just after solving my ankle issue of the other week, I don’t know if it’s not one thing it’s my knee.
The laps ticked away quite quickly and I felt pretty much in control of the effort. I had hoped to be able to lift the power a little more than I did for the final 10 miles as I had been able to do in my last 50, but I felt like I didn’t have it in the tank. This is either because I paced it spot on or I should have had another gel at the end of the first lap like I did in the last 50. Something to experiment with at the next one.
At the end of the race I rolled back to HQ which is literally a few hundred meters from the finish. I was going to ride home so I knew I’d get a cool down. Removing myself from the bike was very tricky, my glutes were hammered, at least I know they are firing. Walking was difficult and I began to overheat. I downed my protein drink. After about an hour I got back on the bike to ride home. I was seized up and could hardly turn the pedals, I had simply left it too long. In future I must ride easy for at least 10-15 minutes before getting off bike.
I am pleased with the result. I took off over a minute and a half from my personal best which is a great sign. I just need to rehab my knee now for next weekend’s 25. A big plus from this test was zero saddle soreness. I was in a right mess last year and was glad of the hill climbs that followed so I could spend my time standing on the pedals.