Ben Houston writes….
ECCA 100, E2/100, Sunday 18th June 2017
Image courtesy Davey Jones.
Another crack at the 100, and again I was just quick enough on paper to make the reserve list for the ECCA 100 on the rapid E2/100 course in Newmarket.
Just like last year, I got the confirmation of my start time the day before the race, and made my preparations for the 04:54 race start the following day.
Weather looked excellent, hardly any wind. The key issue would be the heat and keeping hydrated during the race.
Leaving my car at 04:20 to ride to the start, it was already showing 22 degrees… So I decided to switch to a regular road helment for better ventilation over the aerodynamic pointy hat I usually race in.
Racing with a powermeter this year helped me to keep a lid on things, I kept an eye on my usual fast start, and held back surging on hills.
The first hour I found the heat OK, but soon the temperature was rising and I was concerned about cramping or running out of water (I had 2 x 750 ml bottles with me). During the race I consumed 3 gels and 10 clif shots, this regular eating strategy seemed to work well.
Heat was becoming a real problem especially the second 50 miles, I could feel the power average fading and tried to keep aero and focus on average speed. It was not comfortable!
Despite finding it harder the 25 mile splits were fairly even – so a much better paced effort than last year – 1:01 / 1:03 / 1:03 / 1:02
I dug very deep towards the end and managed to get under 4:10 (04:09:57) and chop more than 2 minutes of my 1995 lifetime best time.
The 4 mile ride back to the HQ was purgatory, 30 degrees by that time and I had left all energy out on the race course. Coffee and cake at HQ permitted me to drive home OK, but the rest of the day I was totally wiped out, the heat really floored me.
Some amazing times were recorded by the mens and womens winners (both British records). In fact the top 4 men all beat the previous record. Detail of those via CTT site when results are published.