I should have maybe entitled this post ‘Sh*t Happens’ or something similar. As often seems to be the way with my sporting endeavours, I either achieve success or it’s abject failure – not much in the middle. In a way it’s not a bad thing since at least I get to win some of the time!
Unfortunately Sunday 4th October at the British Paracgcling Time Trial Championships in Mansfield wasn’t one of the better days.
Fresh from our Duo Normand victory in France the previous weekend, David McGaw (Cambridge CC) and I were hoping for another good ride. Realistically we thought winning would be a tall order as we’d be up against the pairing of Adam Duggleby and Steven Bate who are full-time cyclists with the GB team, but we’d race hard and see where it got us.
I was at least hoping to get on the podium like last year with Jack Peasgood (3rd place after factoring) – again no easy task as not only were there another 4 men’s pairs on the start list but 2 women’s teams we’d be factored against. We would actually have to beat the women’s times by over 12% and since one of the pairings have been road race World Champions and TT medalists…you get the picture.
We had 3 laps of a 7 mile circuit to cover. It had a few testing climbs immediately after the start, a some draggy actions and 3 sharp left handers to negotiate at speed as well as some flatter, fast sections – probably not a bad course for us.
We were off one minute ahead of Duggleby/Bate, second last of the tandems. Once underway we seemed to be going OK, although maybe not spectacularly well. Like the Duo Normand, I was trying to keep our speed and my heart rate under control using my Garmin watch mounted on the bars, which I can just about see when i’m tucked down really low on the back of the tandem (it has very big numbers!).
After about two thirds of the first lap we were caught by our minute men. Now I expected to get caught, but maybe not that quickly! A check of the watch suggested we weren’t going that badly at about 26mph average and it was climbing all the time.
Trying to just focus on our own ride we carried on to begin the second lap. We got over the hills for the second time and begin building speed again. We now had an average of about 27mph and it was still rising. Then disaster struck. Hitting a pothole at high speed we had a rear wheel puncture. Just unlucky really – a bit like the National triathlon champs in May. Even with some of the best tyres in the world from Schwalbe, there’s not much you can do about things like that…maybe there’s too much weight on the back of the bike:-)
We’d actually decided against having a following car on the basis the road surface was mostly good and that if we punctured we’d be pretty stuffed anyway. Plus the circuit was quite narrow/busy in places. Hindsight’s a great thing I hear you say.
After a few miles walk back we were rescued…Got to admit I felt more sorry for Jill than myself as she’d given up her weekend to get me to the event when she probably could have done without it after another busy busy week at work.
In the end Duggleby/Bate were victorious after apparently catching all of the other tandem competitors. H.ere’s the final results.
For photo’s click here.
Not sure whether I will be back next year for this event or not as I haven’t made any solid plans yet…we’ll see how it fits in.
Thanks to David for all his efforts ahead of this and the Duo Normand event. He’s picked up tandem racing really fast and done a great job of piloting ‘The Beast’ (that’s the bike not me in case anyone’s wondering!).