With no road race within a hundred miles yesterday and NEEDING to race I entered the next best thing, a 26 mile mountain time trial starting and finishing just outside Glossop on the edge of the Peaks.
I’ve ridden lots of hilly time trials, mostly in Lakes and Lancs and even won the season long SPOCO competition – SPOrting COurse time trial (basically not a stupid dual carriageway and often mega hilly!) Some of the hitters on the start sheets back then – Gethin Butler (multi record holder/National Champ), Dave Cook (former National Road Race Champ), Paul O’Mahoney and a load of talented lads from Blackburn – Ian Stott, Carl Helliwell and Dave Ebbrell, a few of them like me never packed in racing and a few more are making a comeback this year which is great to see.
This year and Onimpex-Bioracer (the best kit supplier in the land by far ) kindly agreed to sponsor a new SPOCO league, with most courses in the Peak District – http://www.spoco-nw.org.uk/.
My pre-race recce of the course consisted of counting the climbs on the profile, very basic I know but I find knowing I’m on the penultimate or final climb is always a bonus. With this course it was simple – 5 big climbs! Unfortunately a brief glance at the map doesn’t give any indication how technical the descents or junctions are, that’s something you only get from knowing the roads or having the time to ride the course beforehand, neither of which I had the benefit of! I’m sure all of the climbs will be ‘named’ by the locals, I did recognise the old Sparrowpit road race course, the top of Winnats Pass and Rushup Edge from previous painful days in the saddle!
Immediately after the start we hit a 550ft climb with a 12.5% gradient, always surprises me how hard some guys go on the first few climbs in hilly TT’s, almost as though it’s a hill-climb rather than a 26 mile time trial! I always keep an eye on my heart rate, or power numbers this year as I’m riding and training with a PM for the first time, as it’s way too easy to go into the red and there’s no coming back from that! Anyway within 5 minutes I was on my minute man, fair play to him though by the sound of his breathing he was flat stick at this point, if he kept that up for the next hour he’d either be taken home in a box or done the ride of his life!
On to Hayfield and this is where a course recce would have definitely helped, just knowing the corners a little better at 45mph on the descents means you can stay on the tri bars with confidence, if not it’s a case of dis-engaging brain or going on the drops and losing time. One thing I noticed that was a real help, all the marshals held up big yellow signs with black arrows pointing the direction, I found this much clearer than the usual arm waving, would be great to see that implemented at more events.
Shortly after Chapel-en-le-Frith the main climb of the day started, 9 miles long with a couple of descents in the middle and a maximum gradient of 17.1%, I think I really nailed this bit, averaging just over 5.2w/kg, 178hr and 21mph for the 25 minute climb, big climb done, big descent next! Here a TT bike would have been ace, dead straight, little wind, great surface and QUICK! Maybe next year I’ll be on a Shiv!
Two more beasts to climb from this point on the return leg to Glossop, the last of which was an absolute killer. Just to add more ‘enjoyment’ there was a timed hill-climb section at the 20 mile point on the penultimate climb. I didn’t consciously put any more effort in on this bit, when you’re going full gas there’s nothing more to give! Fortunately I must have been going well as I won the prize for fastest up by 4 seconds in a time of 4:20.
My STRAVA file – https://www.strava.com/activities/547917138 – total ascent 3028ft, that’s a lot in a 26 mile race!
Congratulations to Lee on the win, I’m looking forward to another battle at the next round!
Having missed the first two events of the series I’ll need to ride all the remaining 4 to qualify for the overall, so fingers crossed no punctures! I’d encourage all road lads to ride SPOCOs, my team-mates included! If there’s no road race on, and if you can climb a bit you’ll wipe the floor with most testers!
Massive thanks to the organser Mark Nulty for a superbly organised event, Mark would have been a contender for the win himself but for a broken leg earlier this year! Also thanks to all members and friends of Glossop Kinder Velo for the excellent marshalling and fantastic cakes!
Position First Name Surname Club Category Time
1 Lee Baldwin Champion System/VCUK S 1:11.32
2 Craig Battersby Team Chronomaster V40 1:11.40
3 Matthew Moorhouse Preston CC V40 1:11.57
4 Simon Bridge Manchester Bicycle Club V40 1:12.13
5 Ben Norbury Congleton CC S 1:14.07
6 Joe Le Sage Rutland CC V40 1:15.09
7 Sam Clark Buxton CC S 1:15.12
8 Andrew Newby Langsett Cycles RT S 1:15.24
9 Paul Robinson Lyme Racing Club V50 1:15.47
10 Christian Smith Manchester Bicycle Club S 1:15.53
1 Craig Battersby Team Chronomaster 4:20
2 Matthew Moorhouse Preston CC 4:24
3 Simon Bridge Manchester Bicycle Club 4:30
Thanks to Adam Lewis for the pic above.