National 50 and Tavistock Wheelers 10 – Conrad Moss
The National 50 was 1 of my key objectives this year. I’d set myself a goal of a top 10 place at the start of the year, although if I’m brutally honest I had expected the field to be weakened due to the nature of the course, and the fact that it was in the Westcountry.
The start sheet was published 3 weeks prior to the event, and my hopes were dashed with a quick scan of the start list. It read as a who’s who of UK time trialling. Reigning 10,25,50 and 100 champions, 30 comp record holder, National HC champ, Premier Calendar and Tour series riders – the list goes on, but suffice to say I looked at it and confided to a few close racing colleagues that a top 10 in this company would be a big ask.
I knew that despite my qualifying time not getting me a seeded start from 150, the course would play to my strengths – lots of climbing at around 700 ft, and a course that really wears you down. I knew that many of the ‘faster’ riders had recorded times on daft, flat, traffic laden courses up the line, and that they would likely get found out.
I was looking forward to it. I’d prepped well, legs were super strong as shown by my 19.20 in Cornwall a few days earlier, and the forecast was basically wet and breezy – harder the better for me.
A 4am start is never great, but I actually slept well for about 5 hours and woke raring to go. I drove to the HQ with Perky, and there was a definite smell of nerves and unease at the HQ – many riders had recced the S3 on Saturday and had posted their findings on social media – no one was really ‘looking forward to it’ it would seem.
At the crack of dawn and number 142 was off. The bottom end of the course was wet, and windy although a slight tailwind to begin with. Conscious of the profile, and the fact that the return would not only be lumpier, but also windier, I took it steady(ish) riding at a good lick, but keeping some in reserve. I hit 53 mph of Rattery and just tucked in and took recovery, knowing 53 mph one way means a horrific experience on the way back. I went through the turn in 50.20, feeling good but knowing the worst was to come.
I picked off rider after rider, and was managing my avg speed as best as I could. Rattery was a little ring job, and over the top it was time to pay back the tailwind in the first 10 miles. This was hard.
I crossed the line in 1.44.56 – 50.16 miles at 28.7 mph, for a new club record and PB. I stopped just beyond the finish to see what National TT champion, and bronze medallist from 2015, Brett Harwood had done. He had started 3 minutes behind me and finished around 2.5 minutes later, so I knew my ride was in decent company.
Back at HQ almost all of the times were in. I had finished 9th, sandwiched between the current national 100 champion, and the 30 comp record holder. Behind me were many riders whom I didn’t think I’d be close to, let alone beat.
To round off a good morning, I won the supporting championship for SWDC riders, and learned that my time is a SWDC record. We also took 3rd in the National team championships, with Matt Langworthy who did a 1.50,02 and Andy Perkins a 1.55.13.
3 days late it was off to the ever so slightly fickle S40 at Okehampton. The course is long at 10.1 miles, due to the start and finish positions. The course is 6 miles to the turn, and 4.1 miles to the finish. If you get a westerly wind it can be rapid as you have the wind with you for the longer leg.
Tonight wasn’t going to be a great night performance wise. Easterly wind meant a headwind to the turn, and heavy heavy legs from Sunday, left me with a mild case of CBA.
My legs felt crap during the warm up, and were screaming at me from the off. It was clear my power was down versus my ride the previous week, and not looking much more than the 50, so clear I wasn’t fully recovered.
I went round the turn at 30 mph avg, and lifted it a fraction on the return to finish with 30.1 mph avg, giving me a 20.20, and the win by 20 seconds. All in all 30 mph on a grotty night was not a bad performance at all, but 30 watts down versus my 19.20 was disappointing.
Legs still hurt L