2016-03-19 MDCC Fifield 15mi TT H15/10

2016 MDCC Fifield H15/10 results
2016 MDCC Fifield 15 mile H15/10 results

35:43 (course and distance PB having never ridden a 15 mile before, potential club record since none is listed on the Willesden CC site for Men’s 15 mile)

Wasn’t taking this particularly seriously so I rode out to it – really just wanted to finish to set a club record for 15 mile and test the new Pro Missile stem I’d installed.

It was very cold and I was a bit worried that in just a skinsuit I might have another wheezing asthma attack thing like I did at the Worlds last year. That didn’t happen, thankfully. Maybe the preventer they’ve put me on is working?

Once again I thought my pacing was a bit off but it turns out I was pretty decent 1.01 VI with some baulks at turns and slowing for some horses – plus some silly spikes when passing people and on some hills, but it was a technical circuit so this kind of thing is expected.

Actually made the same power over the 15 miles as I did setting my PB over 10 last year so perhaps I need to hit next week’s 10 a bit harder than I’d planned. Cue: snotty mess blowing up at 7 miles…

Wore my old Assos skinsuit (NoPinz) so I didn’t need to use pins, calf guards and aero gloves but didn’t bother with overshoes and I left on the stock 32h rear with touring tyres and didn’t bother with other aero tricks.

Left leg went numb again – really need to work out how to fix this!

1st Cat roadie, James Local, won the event with a 32:57.

2016-02-27 a3crg Hardriders Sporting 10mi TT – P886

27:21, 12th place road bike.

a3crg P886 Hardriders, image from Graham Robins
a3crg P886 Hardriders 10mi, image from Graham Robins

Thought I’d enter a sporting 10 to spice up an otherwise dull, 7hr training ride. I’d entered the road bike event and wasn’t taking it too seriously but left the 404s on the Tarmac and I arrived early enough that I bothered to take off all my audax-esque saddle packs and bottles.

It was freezing and the ride out took a bit longer than expected because of some interesting choices the Garmin made in combination with the largely ignored RideWithGPS route I’d planned. No, I don’t want to ride down muddy cycle paths but equally, did you have to route me down the bloody A3, only to turn up a hill and head backwards?! Sigh, will I ever come to terms with GPS tech?

The race itself went basically as expected. Although being told to take it easy on the way out I only have listened so that when I turned around into the headwind AND the long ass climb I was regretting not going a little easier. I thought I’d be caught by the rider(s) behind but I guess they did the same as me so I wasn’t caught and finished, probably with a bit left in the tank on 27:21. Rode back to the HQ for coffee, cake and presentations and then rode home – bit quicker with the tailwind back and quieter roads thanks to letting the Garmin do all the navigation rather than following RideWithGPS route and its stupid off road trails.

Results Hard Riders Ten

Graham Robin’s race photo gallery

2015-11-13 – World 24hr TT Championships, Borrego Springs

DNF @ ~8hrs/180mi

It seems each time I travel to the US to race the World 24hr TT Champs I come back with a different illness. This time I managed to avoid DVT but seem to have had some kind of asthma attack.

Shortish version of the race report is: it got very cold at night (I saw 3degC, someone else said -2degC) and I was only wearing a skinsuit in order to be competitive against Baloh. Around the 7hr point, I suffered some kind of asthma thing – wheezing, coughing, short of breathe – and if you can’t breathe you can’t ride. I couldn’t continue so dived into the car, cranked up the heating and put ALL my clothes on until my breathing got less raspy and I could take in a full lungful. I went back out and half a lap in, I couldn’t breathe properly again – even being covered in layers of clothes. That was it, my race was done. Back into the car and wheezed until I fell asleep. There was an idea of continuing at 10am when it would be much warmer but there were three guys still riding very strong and it seemed like a waste of time to start riding again for 11-12hrs just to get, say, 5th place. I was here to win, not fill minor places. So I officially quit the race, got some breakfast, packed up the bike and watched the remainder of the race.

We then had a lovely week in California driving from San Diego up to Santa Barbara then San Luis-Obispo via Solvang and a wine route Foxen Canyon road,  beautiful Big Sur and then flew out of San Francisco.

Shit race, great holiday. I’ve since been tested by my GP and have a poorer lung flow rate than my ‘proper’ asthmatic friend! Now I’ve been told I have to carry a little blue inhaler on all my rides and have to maintain a prescription for a preventer inhaler. Maybe all that crappy London air has finally started to kill me? Still haven’t got the tests back for my DVT since they lost the first lot! Bloody hell, falling apart…

Oh, as expected, Marko Baloh won the race but only managed just over 500 miles, where I was expecting a 520-530 mile ride, especially given there was almost no wind, compared to the year before when you could barely hang onto the bike! Maybe he also suffered from the cold? Meurig did well this year, adding another 10mi to his distance.

2015-10-03 – Leo 30mi TT – E2/30c

1:00:47, 18th overall

My first 30mi TT so a PB for sure! Really though I was aiming for the club record set in 1991 by Peter Cookson which stood at 01:04:08.

This course was very fast so I had a good chance and in the end managed to knock about 4 minutes off the old record. Right at the start the Garmin 810 stopped as so as I got the GO! so I frantically rebooted it.  It’s since gone back to Garmin for a refund. Avoid!

My left leg lost circulation again and I messed up some of the turns, especially the last, sharp left-hander where I thought I was finished but still had to climb up the ramp! Doh!

If it was a 25mi event I would’ve got the 25mi club record too so now that is on the cards for 2016. Nice end to an interesting season – might have to race it again in 2016 to bring it below the hour.

Welsh 50mi Time Trial Championship 2015 – R50/1b

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Mal finally snaps decent shot with her mobile! hippy 4th and new 50mi PB

1:51:09 (new 50mi PB, beating previous 50 PB by >2min with less power)

Another early start and a rapid drive west to Abergavveny for the Welsh 50 mile TT Champs. Not being Welsh I wasn’t eligible for the title, which was handy because I came in 4th, but it was the last 50 of the season and I reckoned I could get myself a new PB for this distance.

The ride itself started probably too fast and the bulk of it was involved a lot of self-talk trying to find ways of convincing myself to pedal harder. Most of them failed as I cycled up and down between being on target and way down on target power. Overall I gave away maybe 10W on my PB from two years ago but I was 40W up on the Breckland 50 ridden tired, last week.

The lovely still day and two years of aero improvements meant even with less power and generally feeling horrible for the middle 40 miles I managed to knock over 2 minutes of my previous best. Unfortunately I still have the problem where my left leg goes numb and I’m forced to stand up in order to get the blood flowing again. I’ve had some expensive tests done on this but they were inconclusive so for now I just try to stretch my hip flexors and put up with it. I hope I’m not forced to get vein surgery like Stuey O’Grady had done years ago.

Speaking of O’Grady, I was one of a few riders picked for Doping Control after the race! First time I’ve been tested and a bit awkward as I was quite dehydrated so had to have two goes to fill up the pot with a UKAD bloke watching me piss! Interesting career move there! I instantly started feeling guilty whilst racking my brain to list on the form all the drugs/supplements I’d consumed in the prior week. I’ve not bothered to look up Rivaroxaban but since one of the side effects is lowering red blood cells, I’d like to think I’m actually anti-doping, just like sinking all those beers to decrease my power-to-weight ratio. 🙂

Afterwards we visited a cafe for lunch and nearby Raglan Castle which turned out to be free entry that day. Bonus.

Raglan Castle
Raglan Castle

The M4 was rammed on the way back though. Unbonus.

Thanks Mal for doing your usual thing (and an excessive amount of star jumps) and thanks to Scherrit who is still on US time and also snuck out to cheer me on!

http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/R50-1B-time-trial-course-Abergavenny

Long Weekend – SteamRide 300k & Breckland B50/18 50mi TT

Sat: 4am wakeup call before heading out to Ruislip for the 6am start of Tim Sollesse’s 300k Steamride London-Cambridge-Oxford ‘University Challenge’

The plan was to just tap it out easily and leave some in the tank so I could race the 50mi TT on Sunday and get a BBAR rank (completed 50mi, 100mi and 12hr races).

I’d decided to eat control food and minimise my use of my usual Torq energy products during this ride – I’m going to have to get used to eating ‘real’ food if I race TransAm next year. After a cappuccino and a couple of cakes I found myself riding with Pete from Milltag after the first control (changed to Costa in Hertford because of flooding at the orginal Something Lovely tearooms). Pete and I ended up riding the whole thing together, just cruising along in the sun, chatting. We rode by the Audley End miniature railway a bit unsure if it was the Info control because the distance was a bit off from the brevet card. At 114k we stopped for a bit in the Regal pub for more coffee and cake. The next control was at Ampthill Waitrose (172k) where I smashed a tonne of food and drink – eyes bigger than stomach plus nice bakery options equals feeding frenzy. I pocketed some yum yums but the rest of it also ‘sat with me’ for quite a while afterwards. At 215k we hit upon Buckinghamshire Railway in Quainton, a Control town I’ve visited before from the other direction. There appeared to be a wedding on so we just grabbed the required Info and carried on to Wheatley Services at 241k. I met some guys who’d ridden TransContinental here (g’day, sorry I can’t recall names). Pete grabbed some Subway but since I was still digesting lunch I just refilled bottles. We made it to the Rivers Edge pub 300k finish line before it got dark which was nice. In a rare moment of sobriety I declined a drink in order to get home quickly to eat and sleep before the race tomorrow. I must’ve been a bit low on energy because I managed to get a bit confused on the straight road home in the dark. Cue a few pointless u-turns before making it home. Thanks Tim and volunteers, it was a great ride. Thanks Pete for making my more chilled out audax quite interesting.

Sun:

Breckland B50/18 Results
Breckland B50/18 Results

1:54:41 in the Breckland 50mi TT on the B50/18 course. Adam Topham won with 1:40:08. After not much sleep and another 4am start I drove a couple of hours out towards Norwich with Mal. This gave me a bit of time to squeeze into my skinsuit and get in a warm up. The weather was once again lovely if a bit windy for my liking. I headed out with a power target in mind. This worked for all of 5 miles at which point yesterday clearly caught up and I started to fall apart. The next 45 miles were a horrid combination of rutted roads hammering my pre-tenderised arse and a feeling of emptiness – not a profound emotional emptiness, because we all know I’m a heartless robot, but emptiness in the legs. I just couldn’t get them to push the pedals all the time. I couldn’t believe it but I was having to coast just to compose myself before putting some power down again. I knew I’d finish and get a time for the BBAR but it was a pretty pathetic experience. I got a bit lost at the second turn and lost some time but the biggest hit was the fact that my power was about 30W down… on my 100 mile power! Yeah, I was in bits. Anyway, found a bit of energy with a couple of miles to go and came in, surprisingly only about a minute down on my all-time PB. Must’ve been a faster course making up for my total knackeredness. Afterwards I ate cake and visited a local distillery #becausewellpro

St George's Distillery barrels
St George’s Distillery

Thanks to Mal and Scilly.Suffolk for the cheering 🙂

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Before sending us to a no through road the Garmin did take us past this which was quite pretty…

ruins
Ruins

Straight Outta Hackney 200k Audax 2015

11pm Friday night was as good a time as any to enter the Straight Outta Hackney 200k audax organised by Justin Jones from the ACH. I thought it would be a good idea to actually ride my road bike before PBP and this started from the Salisbury Hotel, Harringay, about an hour away from me and seemed like a good one. It had nothing to do with the promise of free beer and bbq after the finish, honest 🙂

Owing to the early start and lack of traffic, I arrived at the start at 7:10, way too early but better than arriving late… again.

We all rolled out at 8am and I quickly overtook the bigger bunches and was alone for a while until I found a group of four who were moving pretty rapidly so I latched on. This group shed one bloke but lasted until the first control at Ickleton (destroyed some cake and sorted a bottle refill) where ZigZag (I found out he was on YACF after the ride) took off on his singlespeed (respect!) and was never seen again (except when we briefly crossed paths in Cambridge).

The rest of the ride was then a solo ride for ZigZag and probably anywhere from 5-30min back, myself. I stopped at Cambridge to refuel and then again at the Puckeridge control where I chatted to Tim S of SteamRide audax fame (yes, I’ll probably ride your 300 this year!).

Zoomed back into London after lots of pretty lanes, plains and villages and headed to the organisers house, then trundled up to the pub to officially finish and enjoy some refreshments (he means beer). Spent the time waiting for the other riders to return getting some valuable PBP tips from ZigZag and some of the other riders. Damon Peacock was there with some cameras again and interviewed me! Fame! I wanna live forever… Fame! 😉

A few hours later we headed back to Justin’s place where he’d sorted out beer from a friend at Five Points Brewery as well as a great BBQ. What a great finish to a ride! To be honest I would’ve loved to have done my normal thing and got trashed but I was actually a good boy and chatted more to the friendly folks before riding home to my poor cycling widow.

So, many thanks to ACH and the volunteers and everyone who turned up to ride and be merry, I had a great day out!

Red Bull Photo Essay – The Mersey Roads 24 Hour Time Trial

The Mersey Roads 24hr Time Trial National Champships, July 18th, 2015
The Mersey Roads 24hr Time Trial National Champships, July 18th, 2015 © George Marshall

http://www.redbull.com/uk/en/bike/stories/1331736461473/photo-essay-the-mersey-roads-24-hour-time-trial

The Mersey Roads 24hr Time Trial National Champships, July 18th, 2015
The Mersey Roads 24hr Time Trial National Champships, July 18th, 2015 © George Marshall