End of a Dream

Well, my plans to ride/race the Kent Cycling Assn 12 Hour Time Trial are over – the race has been cancelled due to lack of entries – not altogether a surprise in the current climate, but still quite disappointing

As you may see from my other posts, this was to have been my 50th anniversary of this race, but it’s not to be. Both my training and preparation had been going fairly well and I was reasonably confident of being able to finish at or better than my target distance – so that’s perhaps the main positive I can take from this.

There is another 12 hour TT the same day – in Wales! That could well have impacted on the numbers as not that many folk are prepared for races of this length. I thought hard about it, but, for me, Wales doesn’t have the same nostalgic feel; the course does have hills – not that much but a lot more than the Kent course (and more than my current training) and I couldn’t get my head around food/drink issues (I was planning on being self-supporting) owing to the geography.

I’d been wondering recently what was to be my target for 2022 – I’d enjoyed doing a 25 mile Time Trial recently and may do a few more – but they weren’t the sort of target I had in mind. 

First 25 Mile Time Trial for 50 years

As part of my preparation for my 12 hour time trial in September – and because I just couldn’t resist it (it was on a Saturday afternoon and an hour’s drive from home)  – I entered the East Anglia Veterans 25 mile Time trial on 7th August. (Veterans are those older than 40!).

Because I had no recent time for this distance, I was the first rider to start, so I signed in, pinned on my number (6 – don’t ask, I don’t know either), warmed up and went off to the start. Was then counted down by the timekeeper and off I went – a few hundred yards of decent single carriageway road, onto a roundabout and then joined the dual carriageway A428 heading west for about 6 miles. Then turned round at a roundabout and doubled back to the first roundabout – then repeated the circuit again.

The road was fairly flat and I just went all out. I don’t normally ride on dual carriageways and it was slightly unnerving at times but I mostly held to the middle of my lane but weaving a little due to the cross winds – and the effort I was putting in. Most vehicles passed with a wide berth, but there’s always a few who think it’s clever to pass very closely. The flat course suited me well and I was amazed to see my speed was steadily around 22-23 mph – a bit higher at times and a bit slower towards the end. I had hoped I would do better than 1 hour 20 minutes, dreamt I might perhaps make 1 hour 15 minutes but was amazed when I saw that I clocked 1 hour 10 and 23 seconds – that’s over 21mph.

That’s on a par with my times 50 years ago (as far as I can remember) and when I apply my veteran’s age handicap of just under 9 minutes, it makes it my best ever 25mile TT – at over 70!

I normally keep a close eye on my heart rate (which is a better guide of effort than speed alone) but I found myself riding at my max heart rate of just under 160bpm – I knew I couldn’t sustain that for very long, and, sure enough, I couldn’t quite hold the pace to the very end.

I did get overtaken by about 4-5 riders – but I had expected to get overtaken by lots – bear in mind that the top riders would have been doing over 35mph – but they didn’t start until long after I did (due to be 150 or so riders).

Still slightly amazed – and absolutely delighted!

Noticed someone taking photos – will add if possible.

12 hour plans in doubt!

The Kent CA 12 hour time trial has been cancelled due to lack of entries. There is a Welsh 12 hour on the same day, but it’s a hillier course and more challenging in other ways… Still trying to work out if I can do it!