Saturday 1st August I competed in my first TT event, assured by Gemma that they are ‘great fun’, I am not sure I was thinking that at the time however on reflection it was a pretty great event. The event was hosted by Orwell Velo on a 20 mile course. Whilst I am under no illusion that other parts of the country have significantly more challenging climbs, Orwell velo managed to club together one of the more challenging routes that Suffolk has to offer with constant ups and downs and no flat sections of the course what so ever.
I was relatively nervous leading up to the race and I am grateful for the support both Gemma and Sam offered in the build up to it. I think nerves were slightly increased by the fact that my start time was pretty late in the day and I was second to last to go sandwiched between the Men’s Eastern Hill Climbing Champion and a former men’s Silver Medalist at UCI World Amateur Championships, so safe to say I was in good company. In addition to that my ride into HQ involved going along the course in reverse and then merging with the finishers, all of whom had remarks along the lines of ‘that was pretty brutal…good luck’.
Even though I started the race with a plan this unfortunately pretty quickly fell apart for a couple of reasons, first being that I simply got a bit carried away with the event and was running on adrenaline and over cooked it a bit for the first few miles which were all up hill and then struggled to recover from this. Secondly riding to both HR and power have been new concepts for me since joining Podium Addict and found on my climbs I was experiencing massive spikes in power which drained my legs, however this is something which I can work on trying to improve in future races.
The first part of the race got the big undulations on the course out of the way however by the second part of the race I was struggling with feeling drained, the roads on the second half of the course were pretty rough as well with lots of pot holes and twists and turns and riding on a bit of a camber. Due to a slight mishap on my Garmin I was not able to see the distance left to go however, I knew when I had 5 miles left and I knew that when I hit one mile to go that it was downhill into the town to finish.
The last 5 miles felt like torture, I was willing that turn into the last mile to come. As I was riding that last 5 miles, I was thinking in my head never again, however once finished and recovered as usually happens my outlook on this all changed. My initial reaction to the race was a bit of disappointment, I had hoped to go faster and be closer to people that I regularly race and train with, however on reflection, this was my first TT and I definitely learnt a lot from it and on a tough course as well.
Hopefully, next time I can build on my experience and improve.