Roy Brown writes…
I arrived at the HQ in good time, slightly apprehensive as this was to be my first “open” for 35 years….My target last year was to ride in the club 10s, and this year to do some Open events. I’d had a ride up and down the course the week before just to get a feel, so at least I knew where I was going. New shiny bike, (ridden once in anger last September) tyres pumped up and new clean club kit (commented on by Mr Starter – I probably looked like the new kid at school in his brand new uniform) and I was ready.
Arrived at the start with about 5 mins to my start, and then the nerves kicked in. What on earth was I doing early on a chilly saturday morning, waiting to subject my body to torture for half an hour? (I know it’s 20 mins for you fast ones)
Friendly starter and holder-upper, and I was off. No turning back now. Managed to start off at about 25mph, decided to do the first couple of miles without pushing to hard. After about 2 miles I was caught by a demon who rumbled past. I split the course into quarters, aiming for a 27 minute time.
After the first quarter I was up a bit – so I just had to keep going. The rest to the turn is a soul-destroying long straight, although at least you can get your head down and keep the rhythm. At least that was the idea. As yet I hadn’t been down on the aerobars, so now was the time. I managed a few minutes and then had to sit up – just too cramped and not comfortable at all.
Unfortunately it was at this point I passed the Yates encampment, so I didn’t exactly look aero.
Still, kept going, and just before the turn Andy came past (I reckoned it would be about here somewhere) So he’d taken 2 mins out of me. Brain starts calculating – 2 mins on way back – 4 mins total – if Andy’s on a 23 I’ll be on a 27…..but it didn’t work like that. After the turn it got harder. There seemed more of a headwind, and I’m convinced there is more up after the turn than before. I have to admit it was a struggle, and I was desperate to keep 20mph on the clock (which unfortunately slipped to 17-18 sometimes). I couldn’t calculate how far down I was at the 3/4 point (funny how the brain shuts down) but I could see I wasn’t going to get my 27min target.
The last couple of miles were a real effort, and as for that uphill finish….(or was that just me)
So my first “proper” race ended on 29:11. I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t a bit quicker, but at least it was my fastest so far. In the end Andy took 3 mins out of me after the turn, so assuming he wasn’t going faster, I must have slowed down. Lesson learnt is that I need to change the bike set up – a longer stem I think will help. (Longer legs would as well…) But there are a few more I can enter, so maybe I’ll re-set the goal to 28:30. I felt good afterwards having actually done it, and the cup of tea was the finest ever.
PS 35 years ago my best was 26-something, so that’s my real target.
Andy Seltzer writes…
Saturday morning and it was the first of the weekends double header of East Sussex Cycling association time trials with a 10mile event on Saturday followed with a 25 on Sunday.
Cool calm conditions greeted the 70 riders who faced the time keeper although fast out to the turn on the A22 from East Hoathly a nagging head wind helped to keep personal bests out of most peoples reach.
East Grinstead’s top lens man Mike Anton was one of the first to start with his now usual routine of an early start catch those ahead of him and then finish the event by photographing the rest of the competitors. Unfortunately a puncture heading out to the start almost sunk his plans, a rapid wheel change at least allowed him to start but Mike was disappointed with a below par time of 24:47 which was good enough for 23rd place overall.
Next East Grinstead rider was Roy Brown who was still getting to grips with his new time trial bike Roy still produced a personal best of 29:11. The final East Grinstead rider of was me at the back end of the field this particular course has often been good to me in fact my all time personal best was set on this one however that nagging head wind nagged me a bit to much on the return leg and the sub 24 minute ride I had hoped for disappeared with a time of 24:19 which just squeezed me into the top twenty.
A special mention to Sean Yates and his youngsters, who were shouting “allez” to all the competitors as we rode past. If only I could have transferred their enthusiasm into forward motion.
The event was won by a rapidly improving Ian Burgess of In-Gear R.T. with a time of 22:28