Race Report – SAW 25 incorporating the SW District Championship
A stellar cast of 92 riders assembled for the event on a revised S101/25 course which dissects the moor between on the A30 in Cornwall.
One name cropped up on the start sheet which raised eyebrows – that of a certain pro rider, who has won UCI World Tour TT’s and placed in the top 10 at the world championship – however it’s one not to dwell on for too long due to his DQ from the event, due to pacing/following vehicle infringement.
Last year, the 25 championship had been one of my season goals, however this year my priorities are somewhat different, meaning that I have been in a very long block of training. I’m in pretty good shape, but I’ve been fatigued come weekend and race day, and not quite firing, so in order to give myself a reasonable crack of the whip I decided to take an easier week.
The usual sleepless night and ridiculous 4.45 wake up happened, and I was greeted with clear blue skies and the prospect of a nice morning. At the HQ, it was cool still, at 8 degrees, but with a fairly moderate wind of 9 mph, and moderate pressure. It didn’t offer anything spectacular, however it looked like being a decent enough day, and as I got further into my warm up I could feel warmth from the sun and everything! SUPER!!
I’d done some virtual calculations on what my current power would give, based on the time of year, conditions, and also based on my CR on the usually used course. I estimated that a short-ish 51 would be a good ride, and figured that my main opposition would come from Dean Robson. Head to head with Dean it was currently 2-1 to me, but he has come out all guns blazing with several wins so far this year. It had the potential to be tight.
At 0932 I was off. Quickly into my rhythm and immediately feeling the benefit of not being knackered (how odd you say). As expected the conditions were fair – it’s an honest course, that has to be worked at the whole time – nothing particularly hard, apart from the turn, but nothing super quick either – just one that you need to be on the power the whole time, as the course features numerous roundabouts that have to be circled and sap your speed.
My CR on the usual course is a 49.50 so bang on 30 mph. I was watching my average the whole way round, knowing that given the conditions, and my form 30 mph was not on, and so the aim was to gradually chip away at the average in places, and consolidate in others – harder than it sounds, given the first 3m were uphill into the wind and left me at 26 mph avg (when the usual course is used you miss this at the start, but take it in the last 3m, which is where the speed difference appears).
Into the last 5 miles and I dug in really deep passing rider after rider and stopping the clock in 50.49. Happy with that, as this was a result of ‘finding’ 20 watts of the 30 that have been missing.
Back at the HQ I spoke with Dean who was obviously chuffed with his own ride. He asked me ‘What did you do?’
’50.49’ I replied
Cue hysterical laughing
‘What did you do?’ I ask
’50.49’ was the reply
I knew at that point that Dean had won – call it intuition, but I just seem to get stitched up by my Garmin on marginal decisions – I recall thinking I’d taken the S4/10 CR on the last day of the season, only to be tucked up by 3 seconds.
So results board up and sure enough Dean had taken the win in 50.48 to my 50.49, both inside the old CR which was a long 51, and around 75 seconds clear of the next rider.
No retaining the title this year, but generally fairly happy knowing that my recent sluggishness was a training load ‘issue’ plus a consolation was winning the Veterans title, and also the District team championship, ably backed up by Lee Sanderson with a 55.24, and a great PB from Ironman Tony Foster with 56.33.
There was also solid performances including a few PBs (I think) from Kevin Weymouth and Simon Medlyn, who were both well under the hour, and also Dominic Start and Ian Deakin.