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.
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.
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.