This weekend’s race was round three of the NW SPOCO series, Glossop Kinder Velo ‘Tour of the Kinder’ time trial. I love this type of course where there literally isn’t anything that can be considered flat. You literally go up and down for the entire 41kms eventually accumulating 890 meters of elevation.
Thank you Artur of Glossop Kinder Velo CC for the main photo
I hadn’t ridden any of the course prior to a brief recce I did last week, from which I spotted a few trouble spots on the descents. With these earmarked I felt it would be a fairly straightforward race. On my arrival to Glossop I was a bit daunted to see the level of frost on the hills. I decided that it would be best to take the descents on the easy side. It’s a little too early in the season to crash hard. I would later discover during the race this anxiety for excess speed on the descents was unnecessary.
The HQ was the Glossop Cricket club. This is probably my favourite HQ so far this year with very accommodating facilities. A full length cubicle door and a suitably sturdy lock, plus a second cubicle adjacent to take the pressure off, in all scoring a very good 4/5.
I arrived a little late and was glad of the new NoPins arm number sleeve which made attachment of the pesky arm number a stress free affair. I diligently got the turbo out and prepared my warm up station for my preparation for what would be a hard uphill start to the TT. Jumping aboard I began to pedal easy. After around 5 pedal strokes I checked the time and it was just 15 minutes to the start. I grumpily shoved the turbo back in to the boot and set off to the start doubling back for the second time today to collect my glasses. Fortunately the start was just the right distance away with a little bit of a climb to give some sort of warm up.
With the frost about I decided that a thermal base layer under my skin suit would be appropriate against the aero cost. After about 5 minutes in I was wishing I had left the thermal layer behind. The sun was out and was surprisingly warm. A 13mph westerly wind made the return from Mam Tor a bit slow, but if you had to have wind on this course this is the direction you would want it.
The sun brought with it a foe that would plague each of the fast descents for me and I am sure many of the other riders. The early morning Sunday driver. A type of driver that despite wanting to travel at less than 30mph will not be satisfied at having a cyclist in front of them who is doing everything he can to assume the prime position on the road to discourage any overtaking. Car after car would overtake and slow up. Then there were the special kind of idiots that would not consider the fact that a bike following a car will be leaving a little more braking distance, overtaking moving into the gap I had left for safety purposes, sending me backwards!
There is nothing more demoralising than going so far as to don your especially aerodynamically engineered funny looking socks, lugging up hill a heavy TT bike with shifters in the wrong place to be useful, an aero helmet squeezing your ears so hard against your head you think that they may never return to their normal shape, only then to spend the only sections of the course it would be of any advantage sat bolt up right covering your brake behind an old Nissan going downhill at 25mph.
Despite this frustration at least I could catch my breath and recover a bit between the hard up hill sections. Sporting courses are very funny that way. You will be way above threshold for parts of the course and back to an almost resting heart rate for the rest.
All in all though a very interesting race and I wasn’t too disappointed with the time of 1:14:07 considering the traffic. Despite the organising club’s best efforts I wasn’t lured into the temptation to kill myself on the second to last hill that had an in-race competition. I paced the course as well as I think I could have. Perhaps I would dig a bit deeper next time around on the low grade section after Mam Tor, but it’s difficult to say at what cost that would have been to the other parts of the course. I no doubt would have just caught the same car sooner.
A Big thanks to the Glossop Kinder Velo club for a very well organised and marshalled event. I haven’t seen quite so many hazard warnings on a course all of which were very welcome.
On reflection I was perhaps saved from myself by those slow cars on the slippery descents.