After a hard winter of solid training I was ready to get back out onto the racing scene with a new team (Revolutions Racing) and see where my form is at in relation to the end of last year. This winters training had included a lot of weight and strength training sessions with Pete Roche (http://www.petespowders.co.uk) and from this I knew I was stronger than last year and hoped to put it into my performances.
1st March, Wrekinsport Hilly 18m TT
I travelled back to a familiar course for my first time trial of the year, the Wrekinsport Hilly 18. I knew from previous years how tough this course was with a hard climb up the hermitage to finish the race.
With an afternoon start I was off quite early being 15th rider off, knowing I had 2 other juniors starting in front of me and familiar top class racers off behind me. I knew it was going to be a hard race. I began my afternoon by doing my usual long warmup of 40minutes, increasing my heart rate to my race pace and included some above pace efforts to get me used to the pain I was about to put myself through. After my warmup it was time to change to my race wheels, helmet on and let’s go.
I got to the start in good time and knew after my warmup I was feeling pretty good and had some good legs to race on. It was finally race time, after the nerve racking countdown I was off. I pushed hard for the first few miles and caught my minute man before the 2mile mark, should I have held back a bit at the start? Nope that’s not an option, so I carried on working hard on the undulating course and then settled into my rhythm. I was feeling good and was closing down rider after rider. I got onto the flatter and downhill sections of the course and picked up some good speed before getting to the final section of the course. The dreaded climb up the hermitage and then a super fast downhill to the finish. I hit the climb hard and by halfway I was realising I was coming up the gears quickly and before long had nowhere to go. This meant it was down to all the hard work I had put in at the gym with Pete (http://www.petespowders.co.uk) on my strength and power, I worked hard and pushed the gear over well closing further riders down. I could see the final bend of the climb with my mum and dad waiting and cheering. I dropped it down a gear and pushed over the top and then let rip on the descent. I flew down and caught one of the other juniors who started 12minutes in front of me, keeping up with the traffic I knew I couldn’t ease off just yet. I safely got down and proceeded to the finish at near maximal effort.
After the race I knew I couldn’t of pushed much harder than that, and was coughing and spluttering later on. True signs of maximal effort. After the race I had a nice cool down and recovery shake provided by Pete and headed up to the HQ to see the results. I had finished 8th out of nearly 90riders, 2nd county rider and 1st junior. From this I knew I was on good form early in the season.
NSW 2up TTT
Two weeks later I had another time trial, this one however was a team time trial. It was a 10miler and was on my former clubs new course. I raced with a good friend who is also my fellow team mate. The day before the race Rich had a disaster snapping a valve on his front wheel which meant for emergency measures, a quick message on twitter and all was resolved. Rich had to use one of my spare race wheels for it. We got to the race early and signed on, we were the 15th team off out of a big field of 35 teams. The weather was pretty good with it being dry and sunny but there was quite a strong wind out to fight us.
We warmed up separately and once both of us were ready we had a long ride to the start, during this we got our tactics right for how we would race and the duration of our turns on the front were decided. We got to the start in good time and were ready to chase down three teams of nova raiders (Rich’s old club).
We were off, we started well and strong into the headwind before turning back on ourselves and picking up speed with the tailwind. Our changeovers were slick and smooth and we were working well together for a first ride as a team. As the finish got closer, the turns got shorter, the ride got harder back into the wind but we could see a team in front. We pushed on and almost caught them before the finish.
After a long ride back to the finish, Rich had to shoot off quickly so I was left to wait an agonisingly long time before the results got back to the HQ. Me and Rich went out to win the race and with some fast looking teams here we knew it would be tough. Nearly an hour later the results were back… We had done it! We won the event overall in a time of 22:55 being the only team under 23minutes. Round one of the series was won, with 5 events remaining we knew by the end we will have some fast times in and hopefully a sub 22.
My next blog should be next weekend after my first triathlon of the year, Harlech triathlon.
Thanks for reading!