Closeup: IMUK 2018 bike set up


Cycling and triathlon ezines often do ‘closeups’ on the bikes of pros at various Ironman events and grand tours. That’s because it’s interesting seeing the latest kit in action, and then assuming that’s what makes them go so fast. 

I thought I’d do a similar, much less interesting piece on my own bike set up, which I used at Ironman UK 2018 (strava link - I had the 4th fastest bike of the day, completing the shortened course in  4hrs 10mins), showing what can be achieved even when you don’t get loads of free sh1t given to you or have a money tree growing in your back garden.

The bike I rode is a Cervelo P5 three from c.2014. Rated an unbelievably mediocre 3 out of 5 stars by BikeRadar, concluding "The P5 is one of the fastest bikes we’ve ever ridden, but at a comfort and confident cornering cost". So at least when I crash, I’ll be going quick...

2014 Cervelo P5 three. It’s a UCI compliant frame. Think that’s the only bit that is compliant with this set up.... 

2014 Cervelo P5 three. It’s a UCI compliant frame. Think that’s the only bit that is compliant with this set up.... 

The cockpit consists of Enve tri bars with 30deg USE aluminium extensions. I’ve made a custom 3D printed Garmin / etap blipbox holder which sits nicely between my arms. 


As this is the UCI compliant version of the P5 frame, rather than the tri version, I don’t have an integrated brake. So I fitted a Tririg omega. 

I’ve fitted some carbon arm rest cups, spaced slightly wider apart than I would usually run them, because I dislocated my arm ~5weeks before the event and it was still painful, and wider arm rests took some strain off.


I decided to use an elite crono aero bottle on the downtube and mount two cages on to the saddle rails with the use of a ‘pro aero fuel’ bracket (I was really impressed with this, for the low price of ~£20). In one bottle cage I had a 500ml bottle, and the other I fitted a small tool kit, both of which were jettisoned within 500m of the start of the bike course thanks to some speed humps. 


The bike has an etap wifli rear derailleur, with an 11-32t rear cassette and a single 54T chain ring at the front. Infocranks give me reliable power data which I then totally ignore during the ride. Some speedplay aero pedals complete the crankset.


My wheels aren’t anything fancy, just an old enve classic 65 and a Reynolds disc I picked up cheap. No doubt I could improve the bike in this area, but it wouldn’t be cheap...


I used a profile design bento box which is totally useless; it can fit about one gel in it which you then can’t even take out. It might help smooth the air flow after the stem, possibly saving an aero watt, so not totally useless 🤔


The Highs and Lows of 2017

I have neglected this blog all year. I had grand ideas to undertake ‘a comprehensive porridge review of 2017’ (and maybe write about a few events I’ve done), but this will have to be postponed. Hopefully porridge is still relevant in the year 2018. I put this laziness down to increasing work commitments, getting married, honeymooning, and then preparing for the arrival of my baby daughter in August. All worthwhile pursuits despite being unrelated to porridge and detrimental to athleticism. 

Rather than retrospectively writing individual race reports which I don’t have time for and no one would read anyway, I have decided to summarise the whole 2017 Season into Highs and Lows;


The Highs

HWCC 'Good Friday 10' H10/22, 14/04/2017. 1st Place & new course record (18:41).

[Strava Link]

The race was the morning after returning from my honeymoon (very late at night). I was so tired. My power meter was playing up so I had to ride the entire race ‘blind’. On my way to the start, team mate Ryan Davies told me there was a strong headwind in the first half - glad he did as when I got to the halfway point my average speed was slow; I think this would have played on my mind if he hadn’t said anything. The second half, with tailwind, was ridiculously quick. I finished in 18:41 which was good for the win and apparently a course record. It was a good way to start the season.

Eggcellent prizes at the HWCC Good Friday 10

Eggcellent prizes at the HWCC Good Friday 10


ECCA 100, E2/100, 18/06/2017. 3rd Place, third fastest 100 all time (3:18:58) 30.3mph average.

[Strava Link}

Conditions were perfect for my target 100mile race. I didn’t deploy my usual technique of going out like it was a 10mile TT then suffering through the next 90miles. Instead, I tried to stay sensible and keep the perceived effort lower at the start and rationed my camelbak. The early race start (first rider off at 4am!) meant the temperature was nice and cool..... at first.

At around 70miles I was feeling great and my average power was much higher than expected at around 320w.


Camelbak making me look even fatter..... Photo (c) Davey Jones


A mere 5miles later my condition had u-turned. My head felt like it was in an oven and I could feel my legs on the verge of cramping. My camelbak quickly became empty after a couple of swigs.

By 90miles I was concerned I wasn’t going to finish as cramp continued to threaten. The closer I got to the finish, the slower the miles ticked by.

At 96miles. Salt encrusted. Legs cramping. Photo (c) Davey Jones

At 96miles. Salt encrusted. Legs cramping. Photo (c) Davey Jones


I finished in 3:18:58. As soon as I went past the timekeeper, and backed off the power, every muscle in my body went into spasm. The ride back to the HQ was probably the hardest ride I've done all year!

There was some crazy fast times posted that day (4 riders broke the original 100mile competition record), and my ride was good enough for 3rd place (and is now the all time third fastest 100mile TT). 


Reading CC 50, H50/8a 23/07/2017. 1st Place 1:39:17.

{Strava Link]

This race was held on the Bentley course in Hampshire, but used a slightly modified version of the course which misses out the worst sections of road surface.

I rode the perfect race, for me. Nice, even splits, which felt comfortably hard but not painful. I set a new power PB for a 50miler, doing 346w (normalised) for a time of 1:39:17 and first place. It was a shame this ride wasnt on the fast E2/50 course, but it gave me a bit of a confidence boost after some recent poor results.


National 12. E2/12hr 13/08/2017. 312.868miles (26.072mph average).

[Strava Link]

This was without a doubt the most enjoyable and rewarding time trial I have done. There was a top quality field, with Richard Bideau, Andy Jackson, Danny Grieves and Carl Donaldson all in contention for the podium. The race would also have a big impact on the 2017 BBAR placings.


Photo (c) Davey Jones


I started the race without really knowing what power I should be aiming for, having never had a power meter for a 12hr in the past. I had a thought that 250W average over 12hr would probably be a good target. 250W on fresh legs feels too easy though, so I went through the first 100miles in about 3:36:30 with an average power of 270w, the high speed owing to the fast sections of road up to this point.

Photo (c) Davey Jones

Photo (c) Davey Jones


The second 100miles I did in around 3:45:00, and an average power 255w. At this point, after 200miles, I was in first place and had an average speed of 27.3mph. The finishing circuit started at this point, which was much, much slower than the previous sections of the course.

I managed to miss a water stop which turned out to be a big mistake. My power between 200-250miles nose dived, averaging 225w for the 50miles. I also dropped from first place, to second place with Richard Bideau storming ahead of me.


Photo (c) Davey Jones


At one point, I think i was about 5mins down on Bideau. Michael Broadwith and the Arctic Tacx team were watching the race and shouting updates over a megaphone. I wasn't sure how far I was behind bideau at the time though.

I was feeling ropey, so pulled into the layby where my team were waiting. They sponged me down with cold water, washing off all the salt and congealed energy gel, and they had somehow managed to find an ice cold bottle of coke (in the middle of nowhere!) to fill up my camelbak with. I threw a few salt stick tablets in my mouth (together with the packet of silica gel from the bottle by accident) and set off feeling like I had been given a new lease of life.

I increased my power gradually, averaging 240w between 250-300miles. I was gaining valuable seconds back with each lap of the finishing circuit. From 300miles to the finish, I gave it everything I had, averaging 260W for the ~14miles. In the final laps I was being told by my team that I was clawing time back, but didn’t know how much time, or if I had done enough.

Over the following days and weeks, a number of Some errors in the reporting of results meant that a winner wasn’t announced on the night. Or that week even. Everyone knew it was close between the top contenders. An interesting tweet from Michael Broadwith showed just how close;


Over the following days and weeks, a number of iterations of results were released which saw me in 4th place, then 2nd place and with different random distances against my name (none were correct). Finally, after a couple of weeks they released a set of results that no one seemed to disagree with, by which time no one cared anymore;

  1. Peter Harrison AS Test Team 312.868 Miles 26.072 Mph
  2. Richard Bideau Pendle Forest CC 312.101 Miles 26.008 Mph
  3. Andy Jackson SSLL Racing Team306.526 Miles25.544 Mph
  4. Carl  Donaldson  GS Metro 305.098 Miles 25.425 Mph
  5. Danny Grieves GS Metro 297.38 Miles 24.782 Mph


The Lows

I was pretty disappointed about some of these rides;

Newbury 12hr (DNF) - [strava link] Kudos to Andy Jackson for overcoming the strong winds, and even picking the pace up towards the end to win, covering a distance of 300.213miles. I was glad to be sat on my sofa at home rather than still be out on the course.

National 100mile Championship (DNF) - [strava link] I gave up after about 40miles vowing never to ride on the Bentley course again. The road surface is horrendous and I was feeling every bump kicking me in the nuts.

National 50mile Championship (Shit result) - [strava link] I thought I had ridden quite well, with good power, until I looked at the result and saw how much I had been beaten by. Dan Bigham was in a different class (as usual).

Shaftsbury 50 (slow) - [strava link] Carl Donaldson absolutely smashed it. I didn't.

Losing H10/2 course record - My local '10 [strava link]. I had the course record and was pretty pleased about that. Team mate Chris Bartley did an awesome ride and took another ~20seconds off. Keeps it interesting though.


Race report: NHRC 18.1mile Dummer TT (1st Place) 01/04/2017


I have just ridden my first race of 2017; NHRC's 18.1mile sporting time trial on the Dummer TT course (H19/11b). It is a circuit course with rolling, mainly minor, rural grippy roads.


I've ridden it a few times in the past, always in terrible weather, which when combined with all the sh1t on the roads from the local farm traffic can make for a really interesting race. The weather this time was comparatively good, being quite warm with some interspersed showers, but despite this the roads were mostly dry.



A couple of days before the race I had managed to purchase something fairly exciting and significant.... some 'pinhead' oats (a.k.a steel cut oats). I've been trying to track some down for a while but with no luck. Eventually I managed to get some from a whole foods at a bargain price of £1.19/kg. The pinhead oat is different from regular porridge oats, in that the oat grain is not flat or rolled, but instead the grain is chopped into small pieces. As such, it takes a long time to cook, but in my electric pressure cooker the cooking time is reduced, and gives great results. It has all the flavour of the standard porridge oat that I love, but with a slightly different, coarser texture.

The lesser spotted pinhead oat.  Same great taste, different texture, 5x longer cooking time...

The lesser spotted pinhead oat.  Same great taste, different texture, 5x longer cooking time...


In other less exciting news, I got a new time trial bike.

Less exciting than the pinhead oats. 

Less exciting than the pinhead oats. 


For reasons I'll explain shortly, I wouldn't recommend building a new bike up and racing it without thoroughly testing it first.



I am terrible at warming up. I spend an age setting my bike up on the turbo at race HQ with the best intentions, only to then waste so much time that I spend <5mins using it or not at all. My best (short distance) TT performance last year (from a power perspective) came after a 60mile ride, so I am really trying to improve my warm up regime (ideally aiming for 45mins minimum).

Before this race, I managed about 20mins, before running out of time. I got a decent sweat on though, so much better than usual. I quickly took my bike off the turbo and fitted my rear disc, before heading down to the race start.



I like to think I am a very organised, thorough and well prepared person, but the number of times I have discovered mechanical issues on the start line would suggest otherwise.

This was no exception; I got to the start and discovered that my cranks/bottom bracket were very, very stiff and felt like they were binding. With no tools to hand, I tried to find a stick or a stone that I could fashion an 8mm Allen key out of but had no luck. I had no time to go back to the car, so just had to try and ignore it. I could feel the extra resistance through the cranks with my legs, so knew it was fairly significant.



I found my legs felt great right from the start. The first 20mins (along a straight, main road) I managed 387 watts, which is about as good as I get for a 20min effort. The power dropped off slightly by the end of the race, but I still managed to hold 375 watts (~40min effort). I'm pleased with that power - the course is quite technical and I freewheeled some sections, which would have reduced the overall power somewhat. The speed was lower than I had expected though, at around 26.9mph average.



My finishing time of 40:29 was good for first place, with Jamie Pine a close second in 40:35 and Pete Tadros third in 41:13. First female was Rachael Elliot with a time of 45:11. Full results and report on CTT website (link).

Once home, I stripped the bike down to inspect the bottom bracket. The video (and sound!) shows how stiff the BB was. So the new bike I purchase to help me go faster has backfired already....


Race Report: FCCC Christmas 10mile TT 17/12/2016

 [Strava Link]

Things I love about winter: Steaming bowls of calorie laden porridge. Mince pies. Novelty festive shaped chocolate.  Cheese. Mulled wine. White Russian cocktails. Getting fat. Giving my heart and lungs a break. Long but easy and relaxed base miles. Christmas parties. Recently discovered porridge beer.

Something I wouldn’t put in that list is a 10 mile time trial, which would be totally at odds with my aims during winter (ie getting fat). Yet, thanks to the persuasive powers of team mate David Woodhouse, I found myself entering the FCCC Christmas 10mile time trial on the H10/8 Bentley course (held 17/12/2016), along with team mates David Woodhouse, Paul Elcock and Simon Barbour (our first race as part of the newly formed ‘AS Test Team’).



I haven’t totally let myself go this winter. I am doing less mileage than during the summer months, but have been spending time at the gym to try (unsuccessfully) and make the rest of my body in proportion with my thighs. I was feeling quite lean, then made the mistake of weighing myself and couldn’t believe what my fat eyes were seeing. Suffice to say I am doubtful that eating vast quantities of porridge laced with protein powder and lifting weights is what Chris Froome does during the off season. Unfortunately there was little I could do to rectify this in time for the event.

However, team mate Paul Elcock advised me to do some VO2max interval sessions in the week before the race (otherwise known as ‘sharpeners’) which helps prepare for the shock of doing a stupid 10mile TT in the winter. I found the sessions at the start of the week almost impossible, but as the week progressed I actually started to find them easier. Perhaps this indicates how useful they are.

A failed VO2max interval session

A failed VO2max interval session


I was feeling fairly positive until I decided to get absolutely porridge faced at my work Christmas party which was inconveniently organised before the event (no one seemed to care when I moaned about the proximity to a race).



A hot topic at the moment. The CTT have recently clarified the rule that states that your elbows should be within 3cm of the steering axis of the forks. This isn’t a new rule, but it has been suggested that in the future it will be more rigorously enforced at events. To make sure I don’t fall foul of the rule, I made some minor adjustments to my bike with the help of David Woodhouse. Mainly, moving the arm rests and extensions back. The new position felt compact, but still comfortable and hopefully aerodynamic.

Moving arm rests back slightly to comply with '3cm rule' 

Moving arm rests back slightly to comply with '3cm rule' 




A time trial held in December is never going to have ideal racing conditions. That’s why there aren’t time trials during the winter, except this one. So no one could really complain when it turned out that the weather on the race morning was typically wintery; cold, slightly damp & muddy ground, and very, very foggy.  There was very little wind though – a first for 2016.

The start was delayed by 30mins for the fog to clear. It didn’t clear, so the event started anyway. Despite the delayed start and leaving large amounts of time before the race, I still only managed a 10-15min warm up. I then got to the start about 20mins early and got cold waiting to set off. 

AS Test Teams Paul Elcock and Simon Barbour 'warming up' (in their own unique ways) 

AS Test Teams Paul Elcock and Simon Barbour 'warming up' (in their own unique ways) 


Just before my start, I had a quick natural break in the bushes. Unbeknownst to me, clambering around in the undergrowth clogged my cleat up with mud. As I was counted in for my start I discovered my error when I couldn’t clip in to my pedal. I frantically tried to clear the mud - I think I was successful with a mere 3.5seconds to spare….

I started the race in an uncharacteristically controlled manner, trying to keep my power around 400W. The fog caused my visor to partially mist up, but it was mainly the fog that harmed visibility. Travelling over 30mph within a cloud and on a rough road surface is thrilling.

I admit the power wasn’t coming to me easily. I had expected to average just under 400W, but even at the halfway point my power was down to 385W. Keeping an eye on my average speed, I could see that it didn’t matter; my festive insulation was obviously enhancing my aerodynamic shape.

The return leg was much faster, despite my average power being 15W lower (370W), thanks to a slight decrease in elevation and possibly some light wind assistance. Whenever my power drops, I also try and hold my form and shape much more to try and counteract the loss of power.

In the final minute, I tried to give it everything I had. My legs were aching and my lungs burning. I crossed the line in 19min 10Sec, but with a disappointingly low average power.



I was surprised to discover the ride was equal fastest (yes, a dead heat?!), with Paceline RTs Rob Sharland. He had pushed an incredible 405W for the race. 

AS Test Team mates had also delivered the goods; David Woodhouse (20:09), Paul Elcock (20:07) and Simon Barbour (22:06). We just managed to steal the team prize (fastest 3 riders) by 13sec from Paceline RT. A great start for the newly formed team.


CTT race report here. Results;

 =1. Peter Harrison (AS Test Team)    19.10

=1. Rob Sharland (Paceline RT)        19.10

3. Lewis Keightley (Team Bottrill)    19.36

4. Pat Wright (Paceline RT)    19.53

Results Board

Results Board

AS Test Team take the team award

AS Test Team take the team award

Ironman Wales 2016 - 10th Overall, Age Group Win, fastest bike...

Ironman Wales is a spectacular race and you should definitely do it. This is what I told my friend who was attempting his 3rd Ironman after the previous two hadn't gone to plan. So he signed up, as did I, without really thinking about it.

My focus for 2016 was time trialling and I hadn't done any triathlon training. About 6 weeks before the big day, I remembered I was doing an Ironman and I should probably do a bit of running and swimming. Taking into account a 3 week taper,  there wasn't a great deal of time. I also got very ill for an entire week, after swimming in the River Thames following a large outflow of sewage (that's what I think anyway).

I had very low expectations, but was hoping to get round even if I crawled over the finish line.


Bike preparation

The week before IM Wales, I had an important time trial (The Yorkshire CC 50mile TT) which counted towards the BBAR. This meant I couldn't prepare my bike for triathlon use (i.e ruin it) until the last minute. I put a front mech on, double chainring, different front brake (something that worked - the tri rig is mainly just for show), rear saddle mounted bottle cages and saddlebag and taped a few gels to the top tube. Once finished, the bike deeply offended my eyes, but was ready for the ferrous man.

Bike all prepped for IM use!

Bike all prepped for IM use!


The Race

Pre race nerves kicked in bad. I had that continuous sense of impending doom that is reminiscent of the night before the first day back at school after holidays as a kid (or now, as an adult, the first day back at work after a weekend).

I also seem to get mildly injured just before almost every race. I don't know if I am unlucky, or just become hyper sensitive to things. This time the injury was to my bicep muscle, pulled lifting some ridiculously lightweight carrier bags from the car to the rental house. It was definitely pulled though, and hurt, and I was concerned this would be a problem during the swim (as it turned out, it never developed into anything worse than a twinge during the race).

Skipping to race morning, I happened to find myself standing on the beach next to friend and fellow competitor Adam Brittain, who made the mistake of asking how I was feeling. I told him this would be the last Ironman I do....


The Swim (1:00:07) - [strava]

Conditions were great for the swim, certainly compared to 2014 when it was (or felt like) double overhead surf. I was surprised to complete the first lap in ~29mins. The second lap took a bit longer, but I got caught in a weird whirlpool at the first turn buoy, which I couldn't escape. It was sucking me into it. During my flailing, someone kicked me in the face, dislodging my goggles. Despite this, I think I probably lost less than a minute and completed the whole swim in 01:00:07. For me this is fast - I think there was some beneficial tidal assistance or it was a bit short. Either way, I hadn't lost too much time to the fast guys.


The Fun Bit (ie Bike) (4:58:06) - [strava]

As most of my year had been spent time trialling, I had high hopes for the bike. Some pre race calculations / estimations done in excel made me think I could probably go under 5hrs.

It took about 40mins to overtake most people. I saw the last group (riding as a peloton - total 'draft fest') at Angle on the far West Point of the ride. After that, I was pretty much on my own, except for the odd pro who had fallen off the pace (pro's start over 10mins ahead).


At the 60mile point, I had probably built up a pretty significant lead. I hadn't seen anyone for ages. I thought it was a bit pointless continuing on at that rate and was potentially putting my run in jeopardy, so made a conscious effort to ease off slightly.

The support out on the course is phenomenal. Once again, heartbreak hill aka St Brides hill aka Saundersfoot Hill was a total highlight. One of the best cycling experiences.


As I finished the ride, and came into transition, I heard the MC Paul Kaye making a big deal over my bike performance. I was terrified I was about to dismount my bike and discover my legs had turned to jelly, making me look like a massive tool. I was the first Age Grouper, and I think about 4th overall at this point (difficult to know, as the pros started at a different time to me).


The Run (03:33:00) - [strava]

As I ran out of transition, I felt like I was stepping into the unknown. First brick run of the year and a full marathon ahead of me. I was also busting for a p1ss. My supporters (team #marginalgrains) said I looked miserable, which was exactly how I felt.

Start of the run... 

Start of the run... 


The run is a hilly 4x lap course. I found running down the hills quite hard - I kept getting a stitch which at a few points brought me to a walk.

For the first 10miles I drank Coke, but then switch to electrolyte drink and the odd cup of water.


At mile 20 I started to struggle. I knew I had dropped a few places to the pros, but was still in first place for my age Group.

At mile 24 my quads were in agony. I remember thinking that I wouldn't care at that point if 10 people overtook me, I just wanted to get to the finish.


The End (09:42:45)

I was pleased to see the red carpet. I mustered what little energy I had left to do a convincing run down to the finish line. I had no idea what time I had finished in - I wondered if I had gone under 10hrs. I looked at the display behind me to see 'P. Harrison 09:42:45' lit up. I was so surprised and pretty overwhelmed to be honest. I finished 10th overall, 1st in my age Group, and had managed to post the fastest bike split of the day.



Massive shout out to my family and all the supporters who came out to Tenby and kept everyone going. They make this, in my opinion, the best Ironman event. 

Also thanks for the ongoing support I receive from Athlete Service (the best bike shop) who are always there to lend me some emergency kit to break before races.

Finally to meglio, who make some great physio products and sports massage gear. Check their website out and find all sorts of self massage / foam roller type equipment. I have been using my meglio foam roller for the last few months, usually a Sunday evening, and it has definitely helped relieve some muscular pains! 

Awards ceremony the next day.

Race Report: Shaftesbury CC 50mile TT 23/07/16

 [Strava Link]

The good, the bad

Following quite a poor performance at the national 100mile Championship (which I've not written about, because there really wasn't anything to shout about with that ride) I was feeling slightly 'raced out'.

This all changed after a few good performances, on the 10mile H10/2 (19:40 course record) and P881r course (18:39). I found myself with a renewed enthusiasm and slightly more positive outlook. So I was looking forward to the Shaftesbury 50mile TT taking place on Saturday 23/07/16. The weather forecast was predicting rare 'float' conditions (hot, low air pressure, little wind) and the course, the E2/50c is one of the fastest.


The ugly

At the race HQ in the morning, it was extremely hot in the direct sunlight. I debated whether I should use a camelbak under my skinsuit, or just stick with a small aero bottle on my downtube. I felt well hydrated, so thought the bottle would be adequate. 

The start point was about 5miles from the HQ, so I set off nice and early and did a good 45min warm up en route. As I waited on the start line, I suddenly had a very dry mouth, not great news when I only had a limited supply of water on my bike. I thought I had better drink some of my limited supply, but it probably only left about 300ml for the race itself. I started to regret not using the camelbak.

The first 25miles of the race was good, averaging about 325w for a 47min 51sec split. I was really suffering in the heat though, and I'd already drank the tiny ration of water I had left. I had a gel instead, hoping that would satisfy my thirst. Unfortunately it was a highly caffeinated gel which probably made the situation worse. 

The second 25miles was a nightmare. Very dehydrated and my legs felt empty, struggling to hold power (I managed 295w for this second half). I concentrated on being as aerodynamic as possible to counteract my diminishing power. 

i really pushed in the final 5miles. I only managed 287w but it felt like I was giving it everything. My heart rate was sky high (for me) given the power I was doing, presumably a result of dehydration.

Increasing heart rate, but decreasing power! 

Increasing heart rate, but decreasing power! 


As I approached 49.8miles, I saw a slip road approaching, with a Marshall sat next to it. I couldn't see any signs telling me to turn off, so as I approached I signalled to the Marshall for clarification. Unfortunately, something was lost in translation and I took his hand flapping as telling me to continue on the main road. As soon as I had gone past the junction, I knew I had made a massive mistake. I'd missed the turning for the finish line. To say I was angry at myself was an understatement. 

What made matters worse, was that I was stuck on an A-road going totally the wrong direction. It took me 27miles to finally get back to the HQ. I was so dehydrated, I could barely turn the pedals, and was later sick on the way home at the side of the road!

I think I would have finished in around 1:37:30ish. It would have been great to officially get such a quick time, but it wasn't actually a great ride, I think because of the hydration issues. Steve Irwin won with a fantastic time of 1:35:13, with Richard Bideau a close second in 1:35:23 and John Dewey in 1:35:56. Three incredible rides! 

There were some incredible women's times too, with Hayley Simmonds breaking the competition record in 1:42:50 and Clarry Chung posting a brilliant 1:51:59sec time.


Where am I?! 27mile ride back to find the HQ

Where am I?! 27mile ride back to find the HQ


Race Report: ECCA 100mile Time Trial 19/06/2016

 [Strava Link]

To race or not to race?

It was a last minute decision to enter the 2016 ECCA 100mile time trial. Taking place just a week after the Newbury 12hr time trial, I was sure I would still be struggling to sit on the comfiest of sofas let alone a hard saddle. The concern of an embarrassing sub par performance was both a terrifying and very real prospect.

However, the course (E2/100C) promised to be extremely quick; entirely on dual carriageway with lots of dangerously fast moving traffic to help suck riders along. Entry for open TTs usually close 2 weeks before the race itself, so I decided to enter as a 'back up', so I wouldn't miss out if anything went wrong with the Newbury 12hr (race cancelled, crashed out, DNF etc).

The Newbury 12hr TT went well (link), but it took a lot out of me. With only a week till the ECCA 100 I wasn't sure whether I should ride it. I had 3 full days off the bike, then did just a few easy short sessions. The day before, I did an easy ~40mile ride on my TT bike with a few leg testers. I didn't feel brilliant, but good enough to decide I would race.


I've got the power

I've been resisting the urge to fit a power meter to my TT bike for racing. Although I ride with a power meter during training, I have no idea what numbers I could expect to see for longer races, so from a pacing perspective it would be fairly unhelpful, and I thought it could negatively affect me mentally if I see the power dropping right off during a race.

Despite my concerns, I fitted a Verve Cycling Infocrank meter, making this my first proper time trial with power. Technology!

Now with modern features such as power.

Early bird

All cyclists and triathletes are used to getting up early; it is part of the lifestyle. but this event set a new standard for early starts, with the first rider off at 04:45am. Although my start time was a (relatively) leisurely 06:05am, it still meant leaving Henley at 3am. It is quite a surreal experience (ordeal) leaving the house in cycle clothing heading for a race, while the last stragglers are still out and about, tucking in to a kebab and shouting drunken nonsense at each other.

Although 3hrs sleep probably isn't conducive to the best performance, the morning went very smoothly and I managed to get to the start line feeling relaxed and ready, with a few minutes to spare.

Dying a Slow death

I started the race hard, too hard, as usual, but now had a power meter to confirm I was going over the top. In the first 10mins I averaged 370 Watts. But i felt great! At the end of the first hour this had dropped to 330 Watts, and I felt not so great. This trend continued for the whole race.

10 miles in and feeling great. This didn't last long. (Photo by Davey Jones Cambride CC)

10 miles in and feeling great. This didn't last long. (Photo by Davey Jones Cambride CC)


At around half way through, I convinced myself the power meter was broken or had drifted out of calibration. I found it harder and harder to maintain numbers despite fighting it. I was slowly dying.

As the race went by, I kept re-evaluating the average power that I would be happy with come the end of the race.

 "Oh, it's dropped to 310w, I'd be happy with that"....

"hmm, 305w, well that would still be quite good" 


The graph of my average power across the entire race highlights the slippery slope (this could equally be a graph of Mood vs Time):


Mood vs Time (or Power Vs Distance)


"You'll never drop a chain with that"

David Woodhouse had kindly lent me his 60T carbon chainring for the occasion. Apparently carbon chainrings have longer teeth than normal chain rings to stop the chain from derailing. Apparently...

Well, it happened. The chain dropped off at about 10miles, during an overtaking manoeuvre. It's quite embarrassing nailing past someone at 200% FTP, then immediately pulling over to let them pass again. I managed to sort the chain on the move, but probably lost something like 15-30seconds.

(Post race I mentioned this to David, to which he said "I have a chain catcher on mine")......🙄


The End.

I usually try to empty what little I have left in the final push to the line. My efforts were slightly hampered because I became convinced I had punctured with 5miles to go on hearing a hissing sound. Strangely, I wasn't too annoyed at the prospect of DNF'ing as I was disappointed with the average power I was seeing (297w), thinking it wouldn't be competitive.

The tyre was fine though (maybe just wishful thinking) and I went through the line in 03:28:17sec (28.8mph) for 3rd place, behind Richard Bideau (3:22:16 - incredible time, second fastest ever 100mile TT!) and Liam Maybank (3:25:28).

I think poor pacing, combined with fatigue from the Newbury 12hr meant I didn't get a time I think I was capable of. But, it's still a great result to finish 3rd in such a quality field, something I didn't think would be possible last year.

Top ten results as follows;

  1. Richard Bideau Pendle Forest CC 3:22:16
  2. Liam Maybank Twickenham CC 3:25:28
  3. Peter Harrison G.S. Henley 3:28:17
  4. Stephen Irwin North Lancs RC 3:28:25
  5. Jon Wynn T1 3:32:50
  6. Daniel Bloy Team Velovelocity 3:33:24
  7. Tejvan Pettinger Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team 3:34:02
  8. Dave Green Team Velovelocity 3:37:01
  9. Colin Ward Essex Roads CC 3:37:35
  10. Gavin Hinxman Kettering CC 3:38:02
Looking ropey at 99.999miles. (Photo by Davey Jones Cambride CC)

Looking ropey at 99.999miles. (Photo by Davey Jones Cambride CC)


Race Report: Newbury 12hr Time Trial 12/06/2016

Strava Link

The stretch of the A31 between Farnham and Alton is a horrible road, and the weather yesterday (Sunday, 12 June 2016) was diabolical. So what a perfect time and place to spend 12hrs riding up and down, as part of the Newbury Road Club 12hr time trial. My brain is still quite foggy from the fatigue and lack of sleep, so I have summarised the race report in 12 (symbolic) bullet points-

  1. A rabbit nearly killed me in the first 30mins. (He ran out from the undergrowth right in front of me). When he didn't, I hated the rabbit for not saving me from having to ride the next 11.5hrs.
  2. I thought I had a puncture in the first hour, but think it was just because I decided to use slightly lower pressure than  normal because of the rain. It still meant 11hrs of paranoid puncture thoughts.
  3. My position on the bike felt really comfortable for 5.5hrs. For the remaining 6.5hrs it was agonising. There was no in-between.
  4. Everything hurts during a 12hr time trial; Back, shoulders, neck, gooch, shins, feet. But not my legs.
  5. it rained persistently for the first half of the race, meaning I could barely see anything through my visor. Possibly a blessing in disguise as it forced me to pace myself.
  6. When it was raining, I wanted it to stop. When it stopped, I wanted it to rain again.
  7. As time passed by, my perception of how quickly it was passing changed. Hours 0-6 felt like 6hrs, 6-10 felt like 8hrs, 10-11:45 felt like 60mins, the final 15mins felt like an eternity.
  8. To pass the time I tried doing mental arithmetic to work out estimated finishing distances. I struggle to do maths when simply sat at my desk, but after many hours on the bike it becomes impossible. I actually think I started to become slightly delirious near the end.
  9. The wind picked up in the last few hours, making the westward leg soul destroyigly slow (~23mph) and the eastward return extremely quick (~27mph). It also made pacing difficult.
  10. My saddle bag and rear light fell off my bike at some point. As soon as I noticed, my chance of getting a puncture or mechanical problem obviously skyrocketed. Luckily, I got to 12hrs without any issues.
  11. I discovered the garmin 920xt battery lasts exactly 11hrs , then dies. So don't get one if you want to use it for an ironman (unless you plan on going quicker).
  12. Official distance is still TBC, but I think I managed to ride 311miles (fraction under 26mph average) and finished in 1st place. A huge improvement on my 2015 result of 292.15miles (24.3mph average).

I owe a massive thanks to the people behind the ride, that gave up their day (or part of) to hand me stuff in the pouring rain, while I barked instructions at them.  

  • James Churchard - who should really have been riding.
  • Lydia - did a great job of handing up bottles which I never took.
  • Joanne - sorry for accidentally spitting a bagel at your face.
  • David Woodhouse - thanks for the awesome caffeine turbocharged gel you handed me (even though it repeated on me for an hour).
  • Paul Elcock -  did an incredible job for 12hrs handing me stuff on the go. He mastered the art of taping all sorts to water bottles (including a spare garmin when mine ran out!). He wrapped food up in cling film and taped these to bottles, and each one was a surprise concoction. Some of them were edible 😀
  • The organisers and marshals who gave up their Sunday to put run the event and make it happen.

Some photos from the day taken by Kinesis Ttwo, who was there for the entire day.

Paul getting wheels ready because he thought I had a puncture. Because I told him I had a puncture.

Lovely day for it

Lovely day for it



Race Report: Hounslow & District Wheelers 100m TT 29/05/2016

[Strava Link]

After my recent ride on the H50/8 50mile course, which was surprisingly quick  (report here), I haven't been particularly looking forward to riding the 100mile version of the course, the H100/88. Not because of the awful road surface which inflicts terrible kinds of torture to the crotch region, or my fear of crashing while trying to drink from my bottle, or my bike disassembling itself as I ride. These things do weigh on my mind, because they are highly likely to occur, but not as much as the fear of the realisation that the 50mile ride was a big fluke.....

What's that noise?  

On race morning the weather was better than expected, but still only about 16degC with a strong 14mph NNE wind.

I decided I would try and wear my helmet visor (usually it is too hot and would just steam up with sweat) as aero testing has shown it to be significantly more aerodynamic. This had an unexpected consequence; because it cuts down on wind noise, I could suddenly hear all the rattles my bike was making during the race. This made the race a paranoia filled experience of noise diagnosing and trying to check my bike while I rode to make sure it wasn't about to disintegrate (not so easy travelling at 28mph+).

 (Poor?) Pacing

I eased myself in to the race. At least I thought I had, until I went through the 50mile halfway point in 1:43:10. This was only 11secs slower than the 50mile TT a few weeks before. I was pleased and concerned at the same time. I felt fresh, but did I feel 50% fresh? From that point on I found it easier to think in time rather than distance, reassuring myself that I only had left 1.5hrs, 1hr etc... I started to feel slightly under fuelled (at around 65miles). I wasn't drinking all that much; which was good from the point of view that I didn't need to pick up more fluid which would slow me down, but bad because I was losing out on the energy it would give me. I only had 3x gels which I rationed for the remainder of the race.

Photo courtesy of Cuchilo 

Twisted bars

The last lap finally arrived (80mile point) and with it the discovery that my stem and bars had slipped round quite significantly. While riding, I kept trying to check if the bars/stem were actually loose, but I didn't think they were. (Post race, I can confirm the stem was still tight. It must have gradually 'walked' around the steerer, a result of a combination of wrestling the front end in the cross winds, combined with the rutted roads and also that my stem has a small clamping area). It did make steering an issue (particularly as it felt like the wind picked up quite significantly) and made my position more uncomfortable. It also made me highly concerned that I might not make it to the finish.

Picture showing twisted bars after I had finished.. 

This was no way near as bad as #102, Michael Broadwith, who I past near the finish, and saw both of his extension bars had snapped in half. 

At the 90mile point I was confident my bike would get me to the finish. I tried to give everything I had, which turned out to be very little.

The course finish is just after a 'climb' so just when you think you are almost there, you have to put in a final big effort. 



I finished in 3:30:22 (28.5mph), which put me in 3rd place (I think, full results not yet published...). 1st place went to Kieron Davies 3:27:34 and 2nd place went to John Dewey in 3:28:21. 

I was fastest at the halfway point by a few seconds; I don't know if my much slower second half was because of poor pacing, the issue with my bars, or the wind picking up. 

This result compares with my 2015 result on the same course of 3:45:11. This is undoubetedly a result of all the aero testing and refining I have been doing recently, with Rob Barrett, Athlete Service and David Woodhouse. I think I may be producing a bit more power compared to this time last year, but not 15mins worth. I regret not paying more attention to this last season, but at least it now feels like I am making huge improvements!

Top ten results as follows:

1. Kieron Davies, Drag2zero 3:27.34
2. John Dewey, Team Bottrill 3:28.21
3. Peter Harrison, GS Henley 3:30.22
4. James Hayden, Bishop’s Stortford CC 3:35.04
5. Michael Broadwith, Arctic Tacx RT 3:38.26
6. Charles Mitchell, a3crg 3:41.26
7. Jon Wynn, T1 3:42.23
8. Stephen Whitewick, VeloRefined Aerosmiths 3:43.20
9. Marc Townsend, Neon Velo 3:43.40
10. Alex Napier, Blazing Saddles 3:43.42

Race Report: GS Henley 25m Team Time Trial - Weston on the Green circuit 24/05/2016 - Oxfordshire Road Race League

[Strava link]

[Event wbsite ]

Every year as part of the Oxfordshire Road Race League (ORRL), teams of 9 race round and round a closed circuit for 25miles on road bikes, trying to compete for a beeline bicycles bidon and ballpoint pen, but most importantly to be crowned ORRL WONT 25M 9UP TTT 2016 champions. GS Henley won the in 2015 (Hyperlapse video here), so there was a lot of pressure to repeat the performance and retain the title. (Also, my 2015 bidon had to be thrown away after some serious mould growth over winter, meaning there was a lot riding on another win).


GS Henley entered two teams this year, picked and organised by GSH's Road Race leader, Rob Friend, and 'coached' by team captain Paul Elcock. Team A had the following riders;

  1. Pete H
  2. Simon J
  3. Tony R
  4. Paul E
  5. Rob F
  6. Matt H
  7. Luke W
  8. Pete G
  9. Dave C 

In the months leading up to the event we had practiced as a team a number of times, discussed race tactics, rider order, signalling etc. We were a lot better prepared than in 2015, when I think a lot of us had never even met each other before the event itself.

The main tactic was simple - ride as hard as you can and finish with at least 5 men. That was my understanding of it anyway, Paul said some other stuff about turns and zones and all that but there was a lot said, and I forgot.

Conditions on the day (actually, the evening) were pretty good. Sunny and about 15degC, but there was a ~14mph north easterly wind.

We all managed to arrive early and get a short warm up on the course. The headwind sections were brutal, and this caused the team to immediately fragment. When we returned to the start, we had a 'team talk' and sorted out how we were going to approach the race and deal with the headwind.


The GS Henley A team were last to start, at 19:48hrs. It was decided to put me at the front first, and I was to gradually gather the momentum up to race pace. Unfortunately after just a few seconds the team fragmented; a result of some bad timing with another team passing just as we set off, and Rob Friend trying to run over one of the pusher's on the start line which slowed him down.

The team quickly regathered, and started working well as a group, keeping the efforts hard (above threshold at the front) and rotating every 10 to 20 seconds. I was trying to stay at the front during the headwind sections and then move to the back during the fast tailwind sections. 

At the halfway point, we still had all 9 riders and the pace was consistent, at around 27.4mph, although it varied a lot throughout each lap due to the exposed nature of the course and strong wind (as low as 24mph into headwind).

At some point between mile 15 and 20, we managed to drop 3 riders (Luke, Tony and Simon), leaving only 6 still racing. With 5 riders needing to finish the race, we had to be cautious not to lose any more. 

Paul Elcock dug deep in the last 5miles, with some hard and long turns at the front, showing his form has returned after his broken hip in 2015. At this point the remaining riders were feeling the fatigue setting in, but the end was so close. Pete Ganderton thought the end was closer than everyone else though, and nearly sat up a lap too soon! 

The final lap came, and everyone pushed hard to cross the finish line in 54:47 (27.3mph average) and first place. 2nd Place went to Mickey Cranks A team with a time of 55:44, and 3rd Place to Outdoor Traders Race Team with 56:06.

It was a fantastic race for the team, not just because of the first place result, but also because of how well we all worked together, putting all the tactics from the team training sessions to great effect. We got some real cash money too, £30 a rider (which nearly covers the amount of service station food I ate en route) but sadly no replacement bidon.



Race report: Charlotteville CC 50mile Time Trial, 8/5/2016

Strava link

CTT race report

On Sunday (8/5/2016) the Charlotteville CC 50mile Time Trial took place on the H50/8 course in Bentley, Surrey. It's a fairly fast course, but has patches of terrible road surface that my crotch is still fearful of, after riding the 50, 100 and 12hr TTs on the same road in 2015.

H50/8 course in Bentley, Surrey  

H50/8 course in Bentley, Surrey  

In the last few months, I have been working closely with Rob Barrett, Athlete Service and David Woodhouse to try and refine my position and kit choices without throwing vast sums of money at the problem. This event was the first opportunity to try a lot of changes out in anger. I chose to ride without power, despite Woodhouse's best efforts to convince me to fit his power meter to my bike. Although it would be useful for post ride dissection, I think it would do me no favours during the ride itself.

I started the ride hard, almost as hard as I would a 10mile time trial, then just tried to cling on for as long as possible as I watched the miles clocking up on my Garmin. I tried to take it easier when the road surface deteriorated and pushed harder on the 'climbs' and smooth road.

Great photos by  Mike Anton

Great photos by Mike Anton


I spent the majority of the race thinking I wasn't trying hard enough, until mile 42 when I concluded it was basically finished and pushed the effort level up to eleven. It turns out 8 miles like this was longer than I thought, as time seemed to slow down and prolong the suffering further. This is can be seen looking at my heart rate trace. 

Steady increase in Heart Rate in the final 8 miles up to 164bpm (high for me!).&nbsp;

Steady increase in Heart Rate in the final 8 miles up to 164bpm (high for me!). 

I finished in 1:42:59sec (averaging 29.15mph). I knew this was a quick time (in 2015 I finished in 5th with a time of 1:49), but assumed it must have been due to abnormally quick conditions. I was sure one of the top seeded riders would go much quicker. Unfortunately I had to make a quick exit before the full results had come through, but club mate Ryan Davies (who had also ridden), texted me the full results. I was surprised I posted the quickest of the day. Top 10 results (full here);


1 Peter Harrison G.S. Henley 01:42:59

2 Kevin Tye Aerosmiths 01:45:31

3 Tejvan Pettinger Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team 01:46:15

4 Charles Mitchell …a3crg 01:46:43

5 Alex Napier Blazing Saddles 01:46:48

6 James Copeland Fareham Wheelers CC 01:46:54

7 Michael Broadwith Arctic Tacx RT 01:47:23

8 Matthew Charlton Farnborough & Camberley CC 01:48:10

9 Gary Chambers Fareham Wheelers CC 01:48:43

10 Chris Goodfellow DRAG2ZERO 01:49:43


London Marathon 2016, done! I can finally stop running...For a while

Strava Link

In 2013 I finished the London Marathon in 3:00:19. In 2014 I finished in 3:00:00. In 2015, I was hoping to 'smash' at least a second off and go under 3hrs, but instead I finished in 3:41:24! (I can blame a bike crash in Sardinia just days before, for this anomaly). It was clear I now had a sub 3 'monkey on my back'. 

So an obvious goal for 2016 was to really focus on running, get some decent and consistent weekly mileage in, and totally nail a marathon time I would be satisfied with (under 3hrs).

Unfortunately, I didn't do this. For various reasons (work, injury, cycling) I did a sporadic amount of inconsistent running, and some weeks didn't do any at all. My running form was poor and my cycling form was suffering from what little running I was doing, including random long panic runs.

The week before the race, filled with pessimism, I was going to defer my entry. Then I came to my senses and decided I would run it anyway and just enjoy the experience.

Well, it turns out that this was a good technique, as I ended up running a 2:58:26 marathon. It hurt, a lot, particularly past the 20mile mark, but I finally managed to get the monkey off my back.

I also got my 15 (secs) of fame on the telebox. 

Extensive BBC coverage of my marathon attempt.  I felt like how the face of the man in front of me looked...

Extensive BBC coverage of my marathon attempt.  I felt like how the face of the man in front of me looked...

I am now looking forward to having a bit of a break from running, to concentrate on the time trialling season. I will still probably do the odd run to keep it ticking over, before Ironman Wales 2016 in September.

Race Report: Maidenhead Hilly TT H29/18 (06/03/2016)




I am currently training for the London Marathon which is in April. It is quite difficult fitting in both cycling and running training. The day before the race, I thought I should probably run to get my weekly mileage up a bit, but didn’t want to go very long or fast so that it compromised the time trial the day after. I thought a great idea would be to do a trail run, so that I wasn’t tempted to go too fast. Unfortunately, halfway through I rolled my ankle, reducing me to a walk. I was still about 5miles from home and was struggling to walk. Luckily, a passing estate agent driving to a viewing saw me struggling and offered me a lift home.

When I got home, I applied a cold compress and took some ibuprofen. It didn’t look great though.


Swollen Ankle

Swollen Ankle


The morning of the race, my ankle felt ok. The race HQ was in a village called Freith – about half an hour ride from Henley. I decided I would ride to the HQ and use this as my warm up. I rode very gently, with a few efforts to test my ankle, which actually felt fine, putting my mind at ease.

The conditions were relatively good, although very cold. There was some sun breaking through and a ~10mph wind that was starting to dry the roads out. At the HQ, the organisers had put some warnings on a notice board about ice and poor road surfaces. This, together with the hilly nature of the course was going to make it a testing race.

Warning of Ice

Sign highlighting the great condition of the roads

At the HQ were fellow GS Henley riders Ryan Davies and Simon Barbour, as well as Henley based Matt Mckibbin who rides for Royal Navy.

Bike propped up outside race HQ in Freith


As I live in Henley, I frequently ride the roads of the course. I was concerned about the number of junctions, turnings and likely traffic that would have the potential to hold me up. I decided I wouldn’t be taking any risks for the sake of saving a few seconds.

The first ~20mins of the race was a steady slog into a headwind and a 1 or 2% gradient. I knew that I needed to make the most of this gradient and go over my threshold, as it would be difficult to keep the power high during the later downhill sections. Unfortunately, my legs weren’t able to deliver what I was hoping for! I managed around 360W.  I put this down to my lack of training hours on my TT bike this season (I had only actually ridden my TT bike once before the race – a 60min spin on rollers to test it all worked).

From around 20mins to 40mins, the course was mainly downhill, with a very fast section into Henley. I stayed on the extensions during this, but did a lot of freewheeling as the speed approached 50mph. As a result, my average power was quite low at around 310W.

From 40mins to the end, there is a mainly flat section into Marlow, before the final climb to the finish. I was the minute man of Danny Axford of Arctic Tacx RT, who passed me along the flat section. I kept him in sight as we approached Marlow, but there was a small traffic tailback as cars were attempting to overtake a slow moving tricycle doing the Time Trial (this happened a few times during the race). Danny managed to overtake the cars and tricycle and disappeared into the distance. For this final section I managed to average around 348W.


My finish time was 1:10:36 for a 4th place. Danny Axford won in a time of 1:08:31, beating 2nd Place Tejvan Pettinger by just 1 second, in 1:08:32. 3rd Place was Pat Wright in a time of 1:09:08.

Fellow GS Henley riders Ryan Davies placed 5th in a time of 1:12:56 and Simon Barbour finished in 1:14:04.

Results (click to open larger image)

Post race cake and coffee


A hilly time trial like this will never suit a rider of my build (84kg currently), so I went in to the race expecting to finish outside the top 3. I wanted to treat the race as an early season benchmark, using my powertap wheel to gauge my threshold power. It turns out, this isn’t as high as I hoped (around 340W vs 370w on my road bike tested up Teide in Tenerife last month). This was partly because of the challenging road surface and elevation profile, but also as I havent done enough (any) rides in the TT position. As the weather gets better I will hopefully do some longer rides on my TT bike to get used to the position for the upcoming season.

Peter Harrison, Ryan Davies & Matt McKibbin