Back for the second time this year on the J2/9 course this weekend. It would be a test for the small changes I’ve been making. I know from other races that I am generally going quicker than I was at the start of the season when I last visited this course. But it would be the first test of my 25 mile pace since the start of April. Such is time trialling the weather can alter a course beyond comparison. So although I was looking forward to setting another benchmark I was apprehensive that the weather would leave comparison difficult.
On the day the weather was a little less favourable than the previous test at the start of April. Although not significant enough that the ride would be completely compromised for comparison. Over the last few weeks air density (RHO) has been pretty good but fortunately for my comparison the air density increased from around 1.2-1.21 back up to 1.24 which is exactly the same as it was in April. This was good for comparisons but doesn’t make for a super fast race. The wind speed of 8mph was the same however the direction this time was less favourable for the course. A South Easterly I think is best for this course. From the South to protect you slightly on our left hand side roads into the headwind whilst giving a better tailwind and from the East as the course finishes to the East from the start. Ultimately a slower day. However last time out it was a damp day which may bring other factors such as traffic volume and muddy legs into the equation.
In the end I was over a minute quicker, I think if the wind direction had been the same I would have been even quicker than that. I’d estimate that with the right wind direction and a lower RHO of 1.21 the time would be around 40 seconds quicker. I’m currently working on putting wind computations into the Time Trial simulator.
The race itself went ok. On the first lap despite knowing the course extremely well a slightly out of place marshal almost meant I missed the Seven Sisters Lane turn. Once on Seven Sisters Lane the shadows and broken road surface required a bit of concentration. The A50 felt fast and I wasn’t looking forward to the return on the Twemlow to Chelford road which I thought would be a slog. A bit of a tailwind made the usually frustratingly slow Twemlow Lane a bit quicker but it still made the average speed drop a few points of a km. I may have added a few meters on to my distance by attempting to avoid the dried muck on the road. I had spent a few minutes cleaning my tyres before the race and keeping the clean seemed important at the time.
Back on the Chelford road it was not as tough as I thought it would be. Sheltering below the hedgerows I think made it easier. The worst bit was the Chelford to Knutsford road that is often quick, this felt much slower for the second pass. It was at this point my power meter went AWOL for about 6 minutes which was a bit frustrating. It’s in the those moments you realise how much you use the PM as a carrot. It failing also explains why my power reading had been a little erratic up to that point I had assumed I was just tiring. The final stretch back on the A50 to the finish was again fast.
I finished feeling a little under done. I’ve had some races in the last few weeks where despite training through, I’ve felt punchy and on top of the effort, almost disconnected to the level of effort and enjoying the process. It wasn’t like that this time around. Despite this I am really pleased with the result.
Despite doing a 50 last week with zero saddle sore issues in a rushed pre race prep I forgot the Vaseline this week. Yesterday I went for a ride and decided that my under carriage would appreciate it if I did some standing practice. If this had happened in a hundred I think something would have escaped 😮. So that will make riding fun for the next few days.