My second trip of the year was a little bit of a mixed package.
The priority event of the weekend was the Lea Valley 10 on the famed E2 10 course on Six Mile Bottom in Cambridgeshire, where Alex Dowsett broke competition record last year with 17:20. If only I had his legs!
I’d entered the secondary event for riders who had not beaten 22:40 in the last three seasons – and it appears that I have a little more time before I do that.
Weather conditions were not that good – we had an outburst of thundery rain about half an hour before the start. Also the wind was moving around a bit – but appeared to be settling at 17mph WSW.
Anyway, I set off at my allotted time. The run to the turn was a bit of a grovel with the headwind start – did I say that I don’t cope with headwind starts?
The first five miles to the turn took no less than 15:10 –not very good. The turn is on an elevated roundabout which is normally traffic free and which one can circle without easing up. Not today – I was confronted with two large trucks which I had to give way too – marshals are not allowed to stop the traffic in the UK. So a good few seconds lost here.
With the hard run to the turn, one would expect a fast return – no such luck as the vegetation on the northwest side of the road reduced the hoped for tailwind effect. So another grovel back to the finish. The second five miles took another 11:53 for a total time of 27:04.
This was not what I had expected, but was the experience of most of the riders.
I ended up with 15th place from 24 riders. Winner of ‘my’ event was Christopher Garwood of VC Norwich with 23:01. Winner of the main event, Mick Jones clocked 20:02.
I then had a 2 1/2 hour drive to Didcot for the next morning’s event – a 25 mile event on the A420 between Cumnor and Swindon on the H25/17. This is largely single carriageway on undulating roads.
I did ride this course a couple of years ago, clocking 1:07:44, but was giving it a second go.
Had a sticky ride to the turn with a 13 mph SSW wind (12.5 miles in 35:59), but, like the previous day, not a lot faster on the return, clocking 1:08:19 for 21st place from 24 finishers and 10th vet on standard from 17. Overall winner was Robert West in 53:23.
I must confess to being a tad disappointed with these results, but am aware that my winter training didn’t go as well as it should have done. Also I believe that I am riding a slightly low cadence which is causing me to tire too rapidly. Consequently I will be looking to ride with a slightly increased cadence next weekend in the 5 and 10 TTs in Guernsey and see what develops.
Also, in years when I have started the season short of form, I have normally come good by the end of that season. One can only hope?
My next trip in three weeks’ time should involve the VTTA National 10 Mile Championship on the V718 near Hull. There is a massive entry and I may not make the cut. Entries don’t close until 19th May, so I’ve got my fingers crossed – it could be quite expensive if I have to cancel.
Wiggins is due to ride the course twice in the next few days, so it will be interesting to see what he manages – he’s after Alex Dowsetts’ comp record of 17:20 on the E2!