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Monday, 15 July 2013

API-Metrow 25. 54 surprisingly pleasant minutes!

  I was starting to get rather fed up….

   …with having awful experiences racing against the watch so I set myself up for this one with a totally different state of mind.
  No pressure, no unrealistic targets, just sensible pacing and concentration.  The end result was a pleasing 54:28. Not saying I didn’t try as hard as I could, it’s just that I didn’t suffer for mile after mile after mile this time.

  I suppose the main thing that swung it and made me chill right out was the fact that it was a windy day and I’d never be able to beat my 25 PB of 53:50 unless it was pretty much perfect. So that helped. I also wanted to use the opportunity to tweak my position a bit – I’ve been dreadfully uncomfortable all season and been getting especially battered in the old Gentlemen’s Area.
  I’d set Trigger up in the kitchen the night before and, after much tinkering with the allen keys, got much more comfortable. The main thing was dropping the saddle 1cm or so – I’d noticed in recent pictures that my legs seemed awfully straight and that I could do with a smidge more bend in my knees. This also allowed me to slide further back on the saddle and plonk myself on my sit bones, rather than my crotch which had to be a good thing. It felt a bit strange on a quick whizz up and down the street but my back felt straighter and the pressure on my nether regions was reduced which had to be a winner.

  It was bloody hot in Newmarket on race day, probably the hottest I’ve ever raced in. Fortunately the heat never really affects me, in fact my body seems to thrive on it, I was just worried about hydration. Overdo it and I’ll be bursting for a weewee halfway round, under do it and I’ll possibly collapse and die on the hard shoulder somewhere. In the end I drank plenty right up until an hour before the start, then just sipped a bit while warming up. Couple of visits to the bushes in the lead up to start time and then, tada, no problem.  I spotted some riders gulping from their bottles during their TT rides – not sure I’d be able to manage that at 25 TT intensity without choking myself! Glycolysis liberates quite a lot of water anyway – not sure it’s strictly necessary over such a short distance but each to his own etc.

Chilling out in the sunshine. Far too nice for TT'ing....

  Anyway, a very laid back roll away from the starter and out onto the A11….

  My most successful 25 pacing strategy calls for what feels like a very conservative first 20-25 minutes or so, then a slight ramping up for the next 20-25 minutes or so, then a final 10-15 min smash to the finish. So, unlike my disastrous 25 a couple of weeks ago, the first 8 miles or so were ridden at a strict limit of 162 BPM. It doesn’t feel fast but my 10 pace is 172 average so you’re not exactly hanging about.  There was a slight headwind component on the way back so I maintained this intensity all the way to the roundabout. On a personal 0 to 10 Fatigue Scale I was probably a 5 by the turn so had a fair bit saved up.
  HR up to around 168 for most of the trip back and the headwind was only really evident on a couple of drags where I was down to 22mph for quite a while so as not to bust my pacing and blow up.

 “Go as fast as you can and no faster… Go as fast as you can and no faster…”

  Almost exactly like the last 25 I did on this course, the last five miles felt like I was in a vacuum and I rattled them off in under 10 mins.  I’d say I was pretty much cooked at 23 miles but then it’s just a question of hanging on and imagining you’re riding a 4 minute interval….

  The first time I looked at the elapsed time was about 5 seconds after I crossed the line. I thought I’d done about a 56 but was astonished to see 54:20 something. (54:28 was my confirmed time).  You can understand why some riders tape over their computers during rides so they can’t see them – if you’re already ‘going as fast as you can’, your actual speed / elapsed time is irrelevant!

  Don’t get me wrong, I was absolutely shredded when I got off back at the car. It’s just that this time I was shredded at 25 miles, not 12 ½!!!

  Bonus #2 was the fact that I seem to have finally sorted my comfort issues.  I now see why pro riders in TT’s are forever having to shove themselves backwards onto the rear of the saddle rather than just lying on the tribars.
  Onwards and Upwards!!


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