So this morning I turned a pedal in competition for the first time since September 2008. The Penzance Wheelers Sporting 21. It was a whole heap of fun and I’m reasonably pleased with my performance given it’s only been a couple of weeks since I decided I might ride a few TTs again.. so 4 years without any race miles and 4 years without any proper training, and certainly this past winter I’ve done very little on the bike so I was quite interested to see if did have any speed at all in my legs. I no longer own a TT machine, sold the lot when I stopped back in ’08, so I used my regular fixed gear… nothing aero about it all, my only concession to it being a race being sticking a 16T sprocket on, for a 79-inch gear, instead of my regular 18.. partly because that was the smallest I had kicking around and partly because in the back of my mind was the memory of the rather stiff, long climbs on the course. It worked out OK, on a calm day I would have liked a taller gear but this morning was wet with an icy cold (fun in a skinsuit…), gale-force easterly wind blowing and the 16T was about as big as gear as I could comfortably roll up the climbs in that wind .. comfortably in this case meaning without throwing up. I can climb on that gear pretty much as fast as anyone but of course lose out on the flats and downs… my useful top speed this morning being pegged to about 30mph with cadence of somewhere around 130rpm, beyond that at my current state of fitness I can’t maintain much useful power output.
So I got myself around the hilly 21 miles in 59 minutes.. by my previous standards when I was a bit more serious about it a pretty poor performance. Today though on regular track bike and without training I don’t feel like I disgraced myself, finishing middle of the field of 52 on timings.. and it was fun. It means I think I could quite quickly get back to being properly competitive again.. if I was prepared to sink a fair wedge of ££ into a dedicated TT machine.. need to think carefully about that… I did catch myself looking at the BMC Racing website earlier.. and pictures of the BMC I had back in ’08 (click here).. not to my mention my Stadio… it would be fun to build a machine like that again and I do love the sound of a carbon disc wheel at speed… ;-)
Anyway, the thing that was best about this morning was just how much fun it was.. really good to see friends again, enjoy the atmosphere, a bit of banter and so on, not to mention post-race tea and cake.. and notably I rolled up to the start line just looking forward to it with enjoyment rather than with that sick feeling I used to get in the pit of my stomach before a race when I was competitive and had weight of expectation, much of it self-inflicted… to deal with.. you know when you ‘have’ to do well and you know that you ‘have’ to turn yourself inside out and suffer.. enjoyable tho the suffering is ;-) Very fun. I think I can certainly fit in more short TTs without spoiling my happy balance of time on the water and riding. I’ve no plans to be filling my weekends with 200+km days again.. just gonna keep on ‘just ridin’ around’.. or something..