Tuesday, 21 June 2011

25 Miles of Pain

If I am honest I didn't ever really intend to enter a 25 mile time trial. I had it in my head that it was going to be a 10 mile and had already invited Lewis 'smash it' Andrews along for the sufferfest before I scanned down the calendar and realised. In fact I didn't even think about the potential consequences of any of this until I had talked him into it, rang up the club secretary and booked our places.

Neither of us had done a 25 miler before and spent the journey over discussing what times we thought we could do and how much it was going to hurt. 25 miles is a long time to spend at threshold. Very unmathematically, I came to the conclusion that it would be around an hour and twenty five minutes of pain, based on the fact that it's two and a half 10 mile times plus a bit extra because of the extended exertion.
For the first time on a time trial I had my GPS mounted on the handlebars, set up to give me my current speed, average speed and distance travelled. Now I know all my geeky cycling friends will probably tell me that the bulky GPS, water bottle, mountain bike shoes and that fact that I wore gloves probably amount to an extra 47.9 seconds of air resistance but having that instant feedback made the world of difference as I tried desperately to get my average speed up to a nice round number.

The first lap felt really tough; a massive headwind made for a slow start and I even thought - briefly - that maybe I would just do one lap then stop. However, around halfway round the first lap the tarmac got better and I realised I hadn't actually been caught up by many people. Fuelled by sudden new motivation I picked up up and watched my average speed increase.

I went past the first lap marker and wondered if there was going to be any way I could do the next lap any quicker. One lemon caffeine gel later and I was powering down a windy bit of road I didn't recognise. It wasn't until I got to the junction and saw a another timetriallist in front who hadn't overtaken me that I realised I had gone slightly the wrong way and added a bit extra on to the course. Actually, that's a lie. My first thought was that he was a massive cheat and had taken a short cut and had I had the strength to catch him I probably would have gone on up there and given him some abuse. Fortunately though, I didn't.

Back into the headwind on the second lap and I started to get a bit grumpy as I watched the speed drop down again, but this was enough to make me completely hammer the legs. Once I turned the corner into the better bit of road I had gotten myself into some sort of crazy mental state where the pain had become enjoyable and  the near regurgitation of lemon-flavoured gel was purely a signal that I was working hard enough.

Gluteal stretching.. awesome
I cycled the last 10km with an inane, sadistic grin plastered across my face as I saw the average speed going back up and I knew I could get a time well within the goal I had set myself. I felt every tiny undulation in the road and I could barely get out of the saddle on the last little incline as my glutes were running out of steam.

My legs were dead when I finished. I waited to see what my time was whilst munching a bacon sarnie (and whilst Lewis went out for a post-TT run, the loony). I was absolutely chuffed to bits when they reported I had done 1:18:10, an 18.6 mph average.

We engaged in a good amount of stretching before making the journey back to Salisbury. It had definitely been a worthwhile venture. Plus, if I lose the gloves, water bottle (that I didn't drink out of) and take the right route, I should be able to shave off some seconds next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment