Most of us know Time trialling in the UK is a bit weird, most of the events are held on ‘fast’ courses with riders chasing ‘fast’ times, not placings, whilst risking death to ride within a few feet of Eddie Stobarts finest. Completely bonkers and I gave that up years ago but still enjoy riding a good ‘test’ on sporting courses so with no lumpy road race in the North West I entered the LVRC National Time Trial Champs at Napton-on-the-Hill.
Luckily for me the A categories were last off meaning my start time was 11:26, no need to get out of bed at 4am like the majority of testers heading to a lay-by on a dual-carriageway! Not being familiar with the 13 mile course I did a bit of digging, the current course record is held by former National Hill Climb champ Matt Clinton in a time of 29:20, with my race being a National Championships I figured it would take a sub 30 minute to be in the medals. The course profile looked lumpy, not what I’d call hilly so definitely one the SHIV but I opted for deep-sections rather than disc, turned out most went for a disc.
SHIV set-up for the Hull 3-up earlier in the season.
I rolled up at the time-keeper with 5 minutes to go, James Fox (CC Luton) was of 1 minute ahead of me so we had a quick chat, he mentioned the climb to the finish was brutal and advised saving something in the tank for it having died and crawled over the line in a previous race.
5-4-3-2-1 Go! The first couple of miles were gradually up-hill before hitting the main climb at 3 miles in. I set off holding 180bpm with the aim of upping it to 185bpm in the final few miles. I hit the main climb – https://www.strava.com/segments/1830081, ‘Keys Lane Bump’ and straight away started to think I’d made the wrong choice riding the SHIV instead of my Tarmac, the climb was much bigger than it looked on the profile! No matter, dropped to the little-ring and crested the top after around 4 minutes climbing then headed down some very twisty tight country lanes, exactly the kind of course I love! I was holding 180bpm but didn’t feel like I could go harder, James’ warning still in my mind I backed off on the main road final stretch back to Napton, it was at this point I caught sight of James up the road. I caught him with maybe two miles to go, dropped down a slight descent and then sharp left up Butt Hill to the finish. I crossed the line 100% empty, there’s a weird satisfaction knowing you’ve given it everything and nailed the pacing even if you’ve no idea if you’ve done a good ride. I definitely got it all out and crossed the line completely spent.
Back at HQ waiting for all the A category times to come in, fastest on the board being 31:09 for James Fox- my minute man, I knew from my Garmin I was under 30 so was fairly excited at the prospect of a medal, especially as it had seemed like a headwind the whole way round so I figured my time would be up-there! One by one the times appeared on the board, I knew Mark Corbett (Worcester CC) was probably the favourite for the win being last man off. With just mine and Mark’s time to go up and nobody else under 30 it was looking good, Mark’s time went up – 30:01, now I just needed the time-keeper to confirm what my Garmin was telling me!! There was a good 10 minute wait and a fair amount of discussion going on between the officials with me watching anxiously, eventually started to type in my time with me watching the big screen along with the rest…. 29:43.
LVRC National Time Trial Champion 2017!!!!!!!!!
My STRAVA: https://www.strava.com/activities/954503915
Very pleased with that obviously, didn’t expect it even though I knew I was going well.
Congratulations to Mark Corbett and James Fox for taking Silver and Bronze.
Massive thanks to my wife Tricia for putting up with me spending hours on the bike and congratulations to Barrie Mitchell on running a fantastic event on a cracking ‘real’ time trial course!
Ethan’s nicked my medal because he reckons he’s faster!