Trike 12-hour TT

Trike 392km. Icknield 12-hour TT

12 hour: 240.03 miles (20.003 mph) HR138(156)

I spent the previous evening dumping some bottles and cereal bars in a couple of places ready for the 12-hour, then settled in for the evening at the local Travelodge.

Surprisingly I had a good night’s sleep, although had to get up at 4am for my 5:35 start. My big rival for the day would be Ralph Dadswell, king of long-distance trike time trialling, although I was mainly concentrating on keeping my pace good for a decent crack at my club record. He would be starting 8 minutes behind me and for the early laps of the A1 I’d be able to judge my pace against him. My game plan was to go out pretty fast – knowing I could make the most of my speed on the dual carriageway – but to lose a bit on the circuits where my inferior trike handling would certainly lose me some time/distance. That’s a hard way to ride a 12-hour – it’s much better to start steadily and keep it going.

The first laps of the A1 were brilliant, there was little wind and almost no traffic. I was gaining a minute on Ralph at every turn, and must’ve been almost 9 minutes up on him by the time we left the main road for the first of the circuits. I stopped at about the 95 mile point to pick up some fresh drinks and cereal bars, and then passed the 100-mile check at 4:34 (club record is only 4:51). Then we were off around the first circuit.

I got on well with this first circuit – the roads were relatively camber-free and there was only one nasty turn. I settled into feeding and drinking, making sure I was fresh for later on. My back was starting to hurt – the jarring from the trike on the lumps and bumps of this circuit were hurting it. After 4 laps of this circuit, we headed off for the second one. I stopped one more time for some more drinks. I didn’t fancy much carbo drink, so had some gatorade and more cereal bars and a bit of a stretch. Did you ever try to undo a cereal bar or swallow a gel without taking your hands off the bars? Tricky.

Anyway, on to the second circuit. Definitely not as nice as the first, and a couple of rough road sections and hills, not so clever on the trike. My back was playing up a bit and I was only using the tribars on the sections into the (rising) wind. Once I was down on the bars, I was OK as long as I didn’t pull too hard on them. I managed a reasonable three laps of this though, and was looking forward to the finishing circuit. A few of the faster middle-markers passed me on these laps which made me feel like I was standing still.

Before that though, we had a horrendous section uphill into the wind across the A1, over a hill by a famous water tower. That was very hard, and what was worse that when I got over the top of it, I had to pedal down the other side! I’d done some mental arithmetic and realised I could get close to 240 miles, but this hill almost killed my hope of managing that.

I really enjoyed the finishing circuit, there were some tricky corners which I didn’t manage too well in my tired state, but I was still picking off a few riders again and working hard into the windy section. I passed the old OCRC club record (221 miles) with still 61 minutes to go – the last hour would be a bonus. I tried to get everything out that I could over those last two laps of the finishing circuit, and was very pleased to finish at 38 minutes past the hour for a gentle cruise back to the HQ, all my drinks and food supplies gone.

I could hardly bend down to get off the trike and undo my shoes, but eventually I managed to put my stuff away and get a shower at the HQ. The results board was very sketchy at this point, but a quick chat with Ralph indicated that I’d beaten him by a couple of miles. After a few cups of tea I climbed into the car and went out to pick up my empty bottles and rubbish out on the circuit before heading for home and a few beers in front of the Tour de France highlights.

Got the results by email on Monday – I managed 239.96 miles, just short of 240 miles. I have beaten my club record by almost 19 miles and set a new VTTA age group record. Ralph was just behind me, with 237.88. I don’t suppose he’ll be too happy to be beaten by a trike newbie.

Update: I later learnt that I’d done 240.03 miles, (http://www.ocrc.co.uk/timetrials/Ick12_09rs-finaldist.doc)

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