It’s safe to say that this was a successful event for everyone and especially the organisers. It was part of the North Midlands Time Trial series which is organised by Mark Bridgman Smith. It turns out that I first met Mark more than 20 years ago when we were both actively involved in the climbing scene and frequently climbed together. I’m glad I made a point of going and saying thank you to him because otherwise I’d perhaps never have realised.
For the record, I opted for a traditional bike with no tri-bars and no pointy helmet. Keeping it simple sacrificed some time but it gives me a better idea of my performance. I was riding as number 62, just 1 minute behind my friend James Baillie and with Pierre and Luc from Common Lane Occasionals riding as 63 and 64 respectively.
The night itself was just perfect. The sun was shining and there was a slight east wind which helped to keep the night pleasantly cool for riding. The wind gave a slight help from the start to the bottom of Fox Lane. Fox Lane itself was steep and fierce and came just as the heart rate and pace had got up to a proper testing level. With two ramps and a long steady final rise to Shilito Woods it was then time to tuck in for the long descent to Baslow. I decided to ease off the pedalling here thinking I had gone too hard up the hill. Not sure if this was the best move or not but it helped recovery.
As I approached the Baslow junction I saw James Baillie (number 61) already on his way up the hill. He didn’t look like he was slowing down for me to catch him and I didn’t. The climb back up to Owler Bar is very familiar to me and one that I know I can easily go too hard on at the bottom. Using my power meter I made sure I kept the throttle at around the 300-320 W level and this left enough to reach the flat without burning too many matches. Once I was on the flat I knew that it was just a case of keeping my head down and powering through to the finish. All I could think was that number 65 was going to be hot on my wheels but at the finish he told me that whilst his TT bike is awesome on the descent and flat it can be awkward to climb on. So I remained un-caught as I crossed the line at 37:58. This was 2 minutes ahead of my goal time and put me in 16th overall.
Altogether, a fantastic night out. Well done to all who competed and to the organisers. Brilliant course and I can’t wait until next year.