You Wait All Year For A Win...



Apologies for another post about road racing but that’s what I’ve been up to lately. 

I’d had a terrible race at the Gorrick 12hr the week before so I wasn’t feeling too confident going into the Welsh 12hr Time-Trial Championship. To defend my county championship title I would need to beat the 225.23 miles set by Jordan Skelly earlier in the year, and to win the Best All-Rounder title I would need to do in excess of 226 miles. This is assuming Richard Horton didn’t improve on his time at all, and he is going pretty well at the moment. My previous effort a couple of weeks before had been 224.81 miles so it was close. What I really needed was a nice calm day and a flat course. What I actually got was a windy day in the Black Mountains...

 This is the bike I was using, showing off a few Mt Zoom bits and pieces.
An obvious one is the aerodynamic bottle and cage but look closely and
you should spot a few more.

It was the usual ridiculously early start that these roadie types seem to favour, I have no idea why. At that time of the morning it was still properly cold, after a half decent summer this year it was something of a shock to the system. They start the slowest first at these events with the quicker guys off last, all at one minute intervals, to try to prevent any slipsteaming. Fortunately I was the second to last man of the 60 riders to set off and so had an hour longer in bed than some!

Usually I warm up straight after the start as the effort brings a bit of heat to my body but this time the wind chill had quite the opposite effect and the first couple of hours were rather unpleasant, before the sun finally got it’s act together and gave us a bit of warmth.

From the start at Llanarth, near Usk, we headed up the main road to Hereford and then turned and headed back the way we had come. This was not a flat route by any means but I was just about managing the pace I would need, there were still 10 hours to go though. The ‘no slipstreaming’ rule wasn’t being very strictly observed, or indeed enforced. I overtook the man who had set off in front of me within about 5 miles and then had him sitting right behind for the next 50 miles, until his first stop for food. I don’t mind, but he wouldn’t do his turn as the front! 

As usual with these kinds of races we did a few laps of one circuit and then a few laps of another. The dual carriageway section was, unusually, the slowest part of the whole race. It was a wide open space with a fairly stiff headwind, we were struggling to do even 18 or 19mph down there. The section through Usk itself was quite good though, a downhill section into the town centre then a sharp left turn and back out on the main road, the locals seemed a little bemused by us all but gave us a good cheer whenever we came through.
It was a good course as far as the race went, enough hills and corners to keep it interesting, for a road race anyway. However, hills and corners, and especially head-winds, are not really what we need in order to be setting good times, it would be close as to whether I could beat Skelly. 10hrs gone, 193 miles, it was going to be close.



The last couple of hours was a bit of a blur, one eye on the road, the other on my speed, got to keep the average above 19. It was showing 19-point-something but that was my moving average, I had been stationary for 18 minutes during the race, mostly while eating, which was really not good, I must work on that for next time.  Also, one can never rely entirely on the readout on one’s computer.

At the 12hr mark it was showing 230.88miles. The official result was 230.89miles, I don’t think it’s ever been that accurate. Richard had another great performance with 227.52miles

We had put in some respectable performances at the 50m and 100m races earlier in the year (they use both of these and the 12hr to work out the Best All-rounder) but having not actually won anything all year we pretty much cleaned up at this one. With me as the penultimate rider in the final 12hr it was literally down to the last minute of the last race of the year!

As far as county championships go we have:
Me                                         12hr
Me                                         BAR
Richard Horton                       Over 40s 12hr
Richard Horton                       Over 40s BAR

and as our results from the National 12hr were not beaten at this event we also won
Kath Smith                              Ladies 12hr
Richard Horton                       Novice 12hr
Kath, Richard and me,            Team 12hr
and this race also clinched our club 12hr and BAR championships for me too.
Not a bad day’s work really. Almost worth the early morning!

The picture above shows the county 12hr trophy to the left, presented every year since 1928, with only a short break in the early 1940s. The club one is to the right and was first presented in 1956. It's nice to have a bit of history on the mantelpiece. I don't have the BAR ones to show you yet as I didn't get them last year. The county ones will be presented at the Lincolnshire Road Racing Association's annual dinner. I have just been reminded that tradition dictates that the Best All-Rounder has to do the after-dinner speech. Help! I've never done a speech before...

I would like to say a big thank-you to Liz again for keeping me fed and watered during the race.

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