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

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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.

 
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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.

 

BUYING SPEED

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.

 

WARM UP

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.

 

START LINE PANIC

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.

 

THE RACE

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.

 

RESULTS

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....