A return to the ever-more-popular F11/10 Tring bypass. After a poor race on Saturday I settled for an easy hour’s turbo on Sunday and hoped my legs would be in better shape for bank holiday Monday. It was certainly sunny and warm, and conditions looked good for fast times, although most experienced riders were suggesting that the NE breeze was in the wrong direction for this course. No matter, I had my course PB of 20:57 in my sights, especially since I’d spent a bit of the weekend modifying the bars and brakes on my TT bike to make them a little more aero.
I had a trundle around to warm up, went back to the car for my race wheels and was feeling good, and then up the hill to the start. On the first bumpy section off the start I was feeling strong, and got a good wave-through from the marshal on the first tricky roundabout. I was careful not to go too hard on the way out of here and back to the starting bridge before the drop down the “gift hill”. Soon I was just about pedalling out my top gear of 55×11, although my bike was tracking slightly oddly – something I’ve noticed it do before at high speed. I think it was a slight cross-headwind here, which night have had something to do with it. Certainly, there wasn’t much freewheeling to be had before I was on to the resurfaced section at the bottom of the hill. After a steady circuit off the final roundabout behind a car and over a pothole I was charging back to the timekeeper. I felt good, and was sure I’d be on for a power PB (but when I downloaded the file later I found it was the same as my previous best back on the F12/10, ho hum). I knew it was going to be nip-and-tuck to get under 21 minutes, but on this occasion I just couldn’t quite do it, 21:01. After a short freewheel I spent a minute or two at the side of the road having a bit of a gasp before going for a cool-down ride.
Although I’d missed out on sub-21, it turns out that going just 4 seconds slower than my best on the F11 was not too bad – most riders were more than 20 seconds slower. A season’s best 10-mile TT, anyway. Although I seem to be quite “slippery” through the air, next spring I think I’m going to work on more short-distance power for events like this. Hopefully it’ll pay dividends at the longer distances too by raising the “ceiling” under which I work.
The event was won by national champion Matt Bottrill, just off the course record in 18:41.