Trike 50m TT

PM. Trike 97km, inc. Team Swift 50-mile TT, course A50/3

10km w/u
50miles: 2:09:58 New club record. (23.083mph/37.148km/h), HR155(165).
7km w/d

I’d entered this event, not really knowing much about the course except that it was a fastish one, in order to get an entry time for the Lea Valley 50 in a couple of weeks time. That event (on the E2/50c, where I went so quickly last year), has a “T” next to the listing in the handbook, meaning that 5% of the field (i.e. 6 slots) is open to trikes. I’d likely get a ride as a trike without a previous time, but I thought it’d be prudent to have something to put down on the form, just in case.

Getting the trike out of the back of the car, I was beginning to wonder if I was wasting my time – 2½ hours in the car for a cold, blustery day, with the odd shower thrown in for good measure. Whatever, I rode off to the start for a warm up.

The first 2½ miles were down a bumpy B-road, and then we were out, heading south, on to the main road. It was hard work! The only things keeping me going was that I was catching some of the really old vets who’d started before me, as well as the thought of that lovely tailwind on the way back. I got a right soaking as a squally shower blew over the course when I still had about 5 miles to get to the turn. In an instant I went from being a bit too warm, to freezing cold. I soon warmed up when the sun came back out 10 minutes later.

I had a bit of a struggle around the turn roundabouts, as usual, and then it was back out onto the road and that lovely tailwind. I was cruising along at 40km/h, sometimes more. Pretty quick for a trike. Then suddenly, disaster!  My pedals had jammed solid. I looked down to see the chain had dropped off the chainring, and fallen off the rear cassette as well, jamming in the rear mech. Luckily there was a handy layby here and I was able to freewheel into it and sort the mess out. Eventually, after much swearing, I got the chain-rethreaded and I was off again, hands covered in oil. I quickly realised that the mech hanger had got bent in the mess, and the indexing was all over the place. I didn’t dare use top gear again, although we were being pushed along by the tailwind and I could do with it. I got back to the timekeeper without further hitches, although I wasn’t too confident in pushing hard on the gears – my rhythm had gone. I was quite surprised to find that I’d just nipped under 2:10 in the end, knocking about 8 minutes off the old club record. Definitely more to come on a better day and without any gear problems.

I’ve had the trike gears indexing perfectly lately, and can only think that the (new) cable has stretched slightly, or one of the mech adjuster screws has unwound a little, allowing the chain to run off the end of the cassette. Unlike a bike, on a trike there’s no frame or axle to stop the chain falling right off the sprockets. The subsequent jamming bent the gear hanger, but I should be able to sort that out OK.

Fastest rider on the day was Andy Wilkinson, with 1:48. He was an amazingly good rider a few years ago who doesn’t take it at all seriously these days. He probably did that time on his commuter bike, with tribars (I am not kidding!).