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.