North Hampshire RC 25 Mile TT
Gemma Hayes, Mark Bashford and Ben Crick were on the start sheet for the club and I am pleased to report all three of us started. It was a warm day with slight breeze from the NW of no more than 10MPH and a few darker clouds in the sky that threatened a light shower but never went through with it.
The drive can be subject to delays on the A3 southbound so I left early and arrived nearly 2 hours before my 14:38 start time. After a long easy warm up on the turbo and a chat with Gemma and Mark, who were off about an hour behind me I made my way to the start. My PB of 1:00:31 was on this course about a year ago and I was feeling confident I would beat it but the real target was to break the hour. In times gone by, this was holy-grail for time trial riders but with faster, lighter bikes, awareness of aero dynamics, correct nutrition and training methods it has become more common place to see riders going under 60 minutes. As of yet, I was not one of them.
Having done this course a few times before I knew pacing was important and had a good idea of where to push hard and back off. The wind direction also plays a major part in which sections could be fastest. I decided to ride the first 4 miles easier than previously to avoid building up too much lactate in the hope I could push harder later. By the first turn, at 4 miles I was at 24.1MPH avg speed. With a slight tail wind, behind me and a few lumps to get over the hard work started here and I reached 8 miles just 5 secs under my PB split time. The next 4 miles are very fast and I was holding about 30MPH so reached the 2nd turn at 12 miles, 30 secs up on my PB split and an average speed of 25.6 MPH, so far so good! The next 4 miles are a long drag up and I was saying to myself don’t drop below 25 MPH avg. With 3 miles of lumps to go before the final turn I was at 24.8. I was starting to suffer and tried to keep as aero as I could into the wind. At the last roundabout, I saw 24.7 and realised that barring a blow up or puncture I was going to do it.
At 20 miles I was 20 secs up on my PB split and feeling good. At 3 miles out, I was 28 secs up and 24.9MPH avg and any self-doubt I had of breaking the hour had gone but I was then taken over by a rider on his first lap who then did not seem to pull away from me. I dropped back a little to make space between us but my speed was dropping! I cranked it up and went past him determined to hold him off, which I did until the line. I knew with my avg speed at 25.3 I had done it and the Garmin said 59:39 but until I saw that official time I was not going to be 100% sure.
Back at the HQ I had a nice cup of tea and some cake and after about 20 minutes I saw Ben Crick 59:37 so I had another cup of tea and more cake.
3 years ago I said that by the time I was 50 (which I am now) I wanted to break the hour for 25, go sub 23 for ten and finally did both this year.
Anyway, enough about me, someone else was also having a great day and setting 2 PB’s in one race. Gemma Hayes, in her first 25 mile TT did a 1:10:31 (we are waiting on the official time) and a sub 28 minutes for 10 miles. Her partner Mark Bashford came along to support Gemma and rode a 55:40 which I think is close to his PB.
At this point, I don’t know who won but I saw on Strava that Rob Sharland went under 50 minutes!
Mark Bashford 55:40
Ben Crick 59:27 PB
Gemma Hayes 1:10:31 PB