The Season Starts
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
After having a solid winter's training I got ill for a few days coming off a 12 week block so I took an extra week off after consulting with my coach, Huw, at Vitfor.
I've been having to balance uni work and exams through Jan and Feb along with the big block of training in the rubbish winter weather. It's been challenging but I'm pleased to say it all went well and I'm very excited to get back to racing be it Time Trials or Road Racing now things are heading in the right direction.
The other day marked the first ride from Pina in Sheffield, one of the sponsors of the team, on one of the first days 'group rides' were allowed again. Staying in groups of 6, around 40 people turned up to ride over to Bradfield, Strines and back with the team car following. There were 3 of us there from the team, Matt Taylor, James McKay and myself as well as team boss Dave. Post ride lunch was provided by Pina which felt like a much needed moment of normality after months of not going anywhere. It was good to get out and chat to some new people from around Sheffield.
Me and Jack on Cote de Bradfield - Photo by Pedalo
With no road racing just yet in the UK it's all about the British institution that is TT's for the next month or so before further restrictions are lifted.
Yesterday it was finally time to test my new TT bike that has been built up over winter with the help of Pete at Giant Sheffield. I set it up to be UCI legal rather than CTT legal because in CTT events you're pretty much allowed to do anything you want to your standard TT bike position. I've been out for a few test rides and getting power out in position and I'm now very happy with my position in terms of aero but there are a few tweaks to be made to optimise power output based on feedback from the race.
My first race back was at the Velo Club Long Eaton 10 mile TT on the A10/19 course that has a record time of 19:37. The course is quite technical with multiple roundabouts, slip roads and overpasses. The main part of the course was on the busy A50 dual carriageway which wasn't entirely flat but wasn't rolling either. It was just flat enough that only a few gear changes were required to maintain cadence. I had a late start on the day going off 77th but still at the early time of 8:17. This meant leaving the house at 6 to have enough time to check out the course and get a proper warm up in.
VC Long Eaton 10 - Photo by Kimroy Photography
The weather was cold, about 1 degree and misty and the wind was noticeable. A headwind out meant for a slow portion of the longest bit of the course which lead to me being down on where I wanted to be at by the turnaround but the tailwind on the way back made up for it and I stuck it in the 11 for the whole way. Overall I'm happy with my performance for a first hit out of 2021 although I was a little rusty after this illness. 4th overall and 1st U23 on the day in a time of 20:45 and not too far behind some of the top TT riders. It was also great to see a good turn out of some of the big names of the TT world.
I've got a couple of 25's coming up which will be a new experience having never done one before so I'm going to have to figure out a pacing strategy for them. As well as this, when restrictions are lifted I'll be heading to Harrogate for physiological testing again to see the effect that a good winter's training has had on my numbers.
10/4 - Bramley Wheelers 10
18/4 - BUCS 25 (Providing Selection)
24/4 - Team Sheffield 10
1/5 - UoB Spring Stage Race
8/5 - Sheffrec CC 25
Thanks to everyone organising races at this time and thanks to everyone for their ongoing support.