After a winter of reasonably consistent training I decided to start the season with the Kingston Wheelers sporting 14. It’s a tough two lap circuit just outside Woking on some seriously grippy roads. Dean had me doing some threshold stuff for the past few weeks on the turbo so I felt pretty strong going into it. A recce of this was vital as I had heard the potholes were treacherous along the course so I headed out the Wednesday before on the TT bike to see what it was like.
I rode out to the race on Sunday morning which surprisingly wasn’t a snow storm as the forecast had predicted. It took just over an hour to get there and it took another hour to warm up in the hall afterwards. Drastic temperatures meant a controversial technique of a skinsuit straight over the top of thermal winter tights and three baselayers was used as well as washing up gloves gloves. It worked a treat and a double pad was needed for this farm track I was about to pilot the BMC on.
I had decided not to use my full aero kit (as I’d forgotten it and left it home) so rode with a road helmet and no disc so expected to lose some seconds but not too many. I was off number 95 out of 100 which for a February TT is quite a turnout. The quality was not exactly ‘club standard’ with John Dewey, Rob Sharland et al. making appearances so I knew a top 5 would be a decent ride for me.
I started pretty hard and got that grim feeling I’d forgotten about since September of actually riding hard. It was going to be vile but settled into a decent pace whilst bouncing from pothole to pothole on the skis. I got to the top of the first drag and rested through the technical section before opening it up on the main road and descent back to the start. I knew a time of sub 31 would be a great ride and I passed the start/finish in just over 16 minutes so I started worrying a bit. My fingers had now defrosted 4 hours after leaving home so I changed up a gear to try and push on. I was pushing some decent watts up to the far end of the circuit before the final straight back to the finish where I was right on the rivet. I did a 31:41 which I thought was alright as conditions weren’t exactly being described as ‘float’.
After finishing (and my fingers and toes immediately freezing again) I headed back to the HQ for results. I knew Sharland and Dewey would definitely beat me but I was looking to compare myself to Pat Wright and Liam Maybank who I had raced in some TTs last year. I ended up getting 4th which was disappointing to just miss the podium but I beat Pat so I was happy with that. However Sharland and Dewey were well over a minute clear which no amount of aero kit can solve; I just wasn’t in their league.
All in all I was pretty happy with it for my first race and got some decent numbers and data out of it. I’m looking forward to getting going with the season proper now with the S4 next weekend, the Primavera RR the weekend after and then hopefully the Severn Bridge RR the first weekend of March.
1. John Dewey 30:07
2. Rob Sharland 30:11
3. Liam Maybank 30:35
4. Matt Langworthy 31:41
5. Pat Wright 31:55