Well –Trip No 7 didn’t happen – I had the Shingles!
I dragged myself out of my sick bed and went off to ride the VTTA National Championship 50 between Petersfield and Liss – a rather ‘lumpy’ course. I should have known better? Still felt very weak and had only been back on the bike for a week, but there was a race and I had entered. The course consists of two laps of the P885 25 course, so I knew where I was going. Pity I hadn’t told my legs. Right from the start my legs really didn’t want to play and I spent 50 miles being regularly passed by other riders. My HR stayed around the 145 zone and I grovelled around in 2:30:59 – less than 20 mph. In my defence, I wasn’t last on standard – managed to beat three riders with a ‘plus’ of 6:01. Winner was Brian Sunter from Yorkshire with an actual time of 1:50:57 and a plus of 44:46. It could have been worse – seven riders failed to finish. Fastest rider was Kevin Tye with a time of 1:40:57. On to this weekend and the VTTA 30. My legs had improved somewhat and it was a nice day for racing. The event was based at Aldermaston and comprised of two laps of the A4 (Great West Road) between Pangbourne Lane and Thatcham. No wind and reasonably warm. I had a nice start and settled in to the ride. Pity about the road surface as this road is regularly tarred and chipped, but they don’t adjust the manhole covers, so there are a series of slight depressions in the road – five riders from 50 punctured and didn’t finish.
My bad moment came at about eight miles into the race when I caught one of the depressions and my saddle decided to tilt downwards, necessitating a stop to push it back level and requiring me to ride towards the rear of the saddle to avoid a recurrence – probably lost about 30 seconds?
Early on my HR had been hitting about 185 with a max of 207, but it dropped to circa 165 soon after my stop, although it climbed back up a bit towards the finish. My final time was 1:23:26, with a plus of 8:05 – substantially better than the previous week and I had had a decent ride, placing 32nd from 48 starters. Brian Sunter won again with a plus of 21:53, whilst fastest rider was Rob Pears with 1:03:32.
Next weekend sees me riding the Leicester R C 10 on a variation of the course used by last year’s GHS finalists on the Saturday, followed on the Sunday by the Team Swift Charity 10 in Hull. 320 riders for a £12 entry fee which covers the event costs with the profits going to McMillan Nurses (no prizes). Course record is 17:50 (Mike Hutchinson) so it’s fast – here’s hoping.