Jul 20

June Open Time Trial Results – Part 2

After a busy weekend I took a couple of days off the bike, hoping to recover for my next event on 17th June. The third round of Team Swift’s 10 league presented another opportunity to get under 22 minutes, it also came with an added bonus.


Team Swift’s 10 League

As a reserve rider, I do not have a guaranteed start time, Mike Williams contacted me a couple of days before and asked me to ride as number 25. Initially I did not think anything of this, but I like to have a quick look at who I will be chasing, and who will be chasing me. It was then that I saw Bradley Wiggins start time of 30. It struck me that whilst I was trying to get under 22 minutes, he was trying to get under 17. The 5 minute gap between us meant it would be touch and go for me to hold him off, but if I could and he got under 17 minutes, I would obviously be under 22. The thought of being caught by him just after the finish and a chance to be the first person congratulating him on a new competition record, was something I would remember for ever. At the start of the series Wiggins had stated he was not riding the first 2, but would ride after that, I just hoped he did.


On the day of the event, the wind was not only strong, but blowing the wrong way for fast times, I suspected Wiggins would not ride.When I arrived at Newport, I stuck to my usual routine, signing on, collecting my number, toilet stop, back to the car to get the bike ready and then get myself ready. I had been so focused on myself I forgot to check if Wiggins had signed on, but more importantly it was then that I noticed I has also left my Garmin at home.


Like most cyclists today, a GPS computer is an essential piece of kit. I do not have a power meter, but I download my rides and spend some time poring over them, comparing them for indicators of improvement or where I may have gone wrong. I was gutted to have left it at home, but then thought about how often I look at it during a ride and realised I always ride on feel anyway. The main thing I would miss would be the clock which I always use to make sure I arrive at the start on time.


I finished getting ready and set off for the start without really knowing if Wiggins was riding. There wasn’t a buzz around the place, so I guessed he would not start, but I saw Simon Beldon (Team Swift) who would start 3 minutes behind. Beldon presented the same challenge as Wiggins, if Beldon caught me he would be on for a sub-19 minute-ride, I would obviously do a sub-22-minute. My challenge now was to hold Beldon off.


I arrived at the start with less than a minute to spare, the lack of my Garmin had almost bitten me, but I was on time which was all that mattered. I used the on slip for the A63 well and got my speed up to 34mph, like two weeks before I was fast without making too much of an effort, however unlike two weeks before I pushed on hard. My speed was always around the 30mph mark and I knew I was going well when the rider behind only caught me after the turn. (in the first 30, fast riders are set off at 2 minute intervals, with a slower rider in between) I continued to ride hard, but could feel the effort starting to get too much. The head wind was stronger than two weeks before, but like the Sunday before the last mile was really fast, determined to do a good ride I found new speed until I passed the timekeeper.


Normally I would be able to have a look at my Garmin to see how I had done, without it I didn’t have a clue. What I did know was Beldon had not caught me, however on arriving back at the HQ I found out he had punctured. I started to worry as all the talk was the night had been much slower that two weeks ago, but when I saw Clem he congratulated me on a good ride, it was then that I knew I had achieved another goal going sub 22 minutes with a time of 21:58.


I had only gone 3 seconds faster, but breaking the 22 minute barrier was huge for me, I had only done this twice before in a time when I was 20 years younger, much fitter and very much lighter. If I can do a ride like this now, I know I can go much faster with less weight and increased fitness, I was happy and very much looking forward to what I could achieve.


On checking the rest of the results, Mark Jones (Drag2zero) had won with 18:51, but the majority of the field apart from Clem who had also gone 3 seconds faster, were much slower, I was clearly right on form. I also realised an unexpected bonus, I was now leading the competition on points.


The day after I made a massive mistake, I am limited due to work when I can get out on the bike to train, the following day I should have completed a recovery ride, but instead went out and battered myself for 3 hours. At the time I was knackered, but happy that I had trained well, unfortunately the effects of this ride were still present for my next race.


Lindsey RC’s ’10’

The following Saturday (20/06/2015) I set off in dry conditions, heading towards Great Limber for Lindsey RC’s 10. Great Limber is another trip down memory lane for me, during the early/mid 90’s Great Limber was a hot bed for cycling, be it time trials or road races. The road race circuit was something of a favourite of mine and over the years I had a good few top 10 finishes .


As mentioned it was dry when I set off, but this did not last long and the heavens opened. As I crossed the Humber Bridge the rain just seemed to be getting heavier and heavier, I wondered if the event would be cancelled. I hoped not, as I wanted to test my good form on another course that isn’t classed as a drag strip. Also the organiser had put all riders into groups, I had been placed in group C and fancied my chances of a win.


When I arrived the rain was still very heavy, but everyone was getting ready and I knew the event was on. The course (C10/4) is flat, rough roads and half single carriageway, half dual carriageway, but nothing like the A63. There wasn’t a great deal of wind, but the rain had collected in the gutter meaning there were many puddles to negotiate.


I started my warm up and was using my old Bell Meteor helmet with no visor, I was soaked instantly, but at least I could see. The rain started to slow and by the time I started had stopped. Instantly, on starting I was struggling to breath, the air was so moist it seemed like you were sucking in water opposed to oxygen and my legs felt heavy and tired.


The conditions are however the same for everyone. I started to catch riders and could see my minute man, who was also in group C getting closer. I still felt fast as I dodged pot holes and rough road, but was very nervous at the turn which was very wet and slippery, taking this with great care.


I caught my minute man with a couple of miles to go, so knew I was in with a chance of a group win, but I was starting to really suffer. My legs were just so heavy that I could not turn the gear with any speed, I found that I was in a bigger gear than needed trying to force this round to keep the speed up.


The rider behind me, caught me, but thankfully he was in group B. In passing me he gave me a lift, and I tried not to let him get too far away, this seemed to work as I crossed the line soon after, recording exactly 23 minutes.


Not only was this time good enough for 15th place from 68 riders, it was good enough to win group C and a £10 prize, in fact I was only beaten by one rider from group B, the rider who caught me. It was clear that whilst I felt I had struggled, my good form had been enough to do a decent ride. The winner Adam Gascoigne recorded 20:35 to beat me by less then 2 and a half minutes. In March Gascoigne had beaten me by over 4 minutes in a 10 over a similar course, another sign of the progress I have made.


The tiredness I had started to feel transformed itself into sickness, an eye infection and swollen glands, I limited my training in an attempt to recover, but arrived at my last race of June knowing the bubble had well and truly burst.


Bridlington CC Hilly ’10’

On Saturday 27th June I was one of 5 riders from Hull Thursday competing in the Bridlington CC Hilly 10, I wonder how long it has been since we can say that for an open time trial? I was joined by Jim, Clem, John and Hull Thursday race team member Andy Carroll.


Andy and I went to the same school together and have known each other years. Andy has always been a top bloke, who continues to amaze me given what he can do on a bike when you think of his health problems. My moans and groans about self inflicted over training and racing is embarrassing really, when you think about what Andy has to deal with. I took it as a massive complement that Andy had made me something of a target for the event.


I had ridden the course years ago and could vaguely remember it, however my main memories of Burton Flemming come from road races. I had finished in the top 10, 2 years in a row in the mid 90’s with my best result a third place in 1995, finishing second in the bunch sprint up the drag. Back then the up and down nature of the course suited me, now I was only suited to the down.


The course is almost triangular in shape, the first couple of miles are all up hill, a gradual drag that gets harder and harder, in theory once over the climb things should get easier, however the wind was cross to head and the road is up and down until you drop down onto the road that takes you back into Burton Flemming. Here with a tail wind it is very fast until you get through the village and start to climb a couple of short nasty slopes which take you to the finish.


As soon as I started to warm up, I knew it was going to be a tough ride. With a small field I would normally be targeting a top ten finish, however it was clear to me that this would not be possible. I was well aware that I needed a good ride to win 10 League the following Wednesday, so my thoughts turn to training and preparation for that.


On starting I was chasing Clem for 1 minute, I could see a dot in the distance as we tackled the climb, but soon this disappeared. I tried to maintain a fast cadence on the climb, but the trade off meant that I was in a low gear and going quite slow. On reaching the top of the climb I went through the gears, but as the week before found myself over geared and trying to force the issue. I only found some sort of speed on the flat run back to Burton Flemming, but by then it was too late.


As I hit the last couple of climbs, I’d like to say that I had nothing left, but the reality was my head had gone and I couldn’t push myself for the last mile. Andy had finished and gave me a cheer, as did Clem when I crossed with him, but even this wasn’t enough to lift me. I rode to the finish, but knew I hadn’t done very well.


My poor ride was confirmed when I saw my time on the finish board, 25:55. Ali Wareham had won with a time of 21:17. Jim and Clem battled out 7th place, with Jim just coming out on top by a couple of seconds, they had both recorded 23 minute rides. Andy had beaten me easily and I was pleased for him. My time was well over a minute slower than what it should have been, I’d like to blame the hilly nature of the course, but knew the problem was with me and not the course.


Overall June had been really good, whilst the Brid ’10’ had brought me back down to earth, I had been surprising myself with my times in less than favourable conditions. Hopefully July would be more of the same.

Richard Bielby