Yeovil CC ’10’ from Andy Perkins
Sarah Lakey, Harrison Wood and me travelled up to the U30/10 course at Podimore near Yeovilton.
Conditions looked pretty good stood in the car park warming up – but didn’t translate into fast times on the course as we had hoped. There was virtually no wind on Sunday morning, but on some courses you benefit from some wind (if the prevailing direction is the right one).
Sarah and Harrison were off early, Harrison getting his first start as a ‘seeded’ rode off number 20. I was off at number 40 and ‘in form’ fast man Rob Pears – the course record holder of 19:49 – off last seed at number 50 – the other major threat was John Wynn of Team Diabetes who had clocked a 19:45 a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never beaten Rob, but my form is pretty good and I was ‘psyched’ for the event, hoping that today might be the day I finally did so.
Warm up out of the way, I headed to the start line. I mentioned I was ‘psyched’ for this one – it turned out I was too psyched! I went off way too hard and started to pay the price just 3.5 miles in just as the course started to climb. I’d convinced myself that in the still conditions a sub-20 minute ride was on the cards and was pushing myself to see a 30 mph average at the turn – too ambitious it turned out. I didn’t quite achieve that, but a later review of Strava showed that I had a 13 second advantage at the turn. However, having gone too far into the red, the return leg was horrible and I struggled to get close to the 30 mph I needed to keep time. The easterly heading return leg is usually helped by the prevailing westerly wind – but with no wind assistance, it felt like I was riding in treacle. The last 5 miles saw Rob overhaul my lead with a very rapid return – his superior pacing enabling him to convert that deficit to a 16 second lead by the finish clocking 20:22 to 20:38 – a near 30 second turnaround. I just managed to hang on for second, John Wynn coming in 1 second slower – another few hundred yards and I think second would have been lost too.
Conrad has been stressing to me recently the importance of pacing and this ride demonstrates the very point – it often feels counterintuitive to ‘hold back’ when you feel strong in the early stages of a TT but the fastest rider will usually be the one who expends his efforts most intelligently during the ride – lesson learned!
Back to the HQ and a quick catch up with Sarah and Harrison. Harrison clocked a super time of 22:02 to finish just outside the top ten and to be the fastest youth rider and Sarah recorded a 25:52 to finish third woman – all in all a good day’s work for the team – but I wish I could turn back the clock and ride it differently!.