5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO, good luck.
Does this sound familiar? Of course it does you know how a time trial works by now. But this wasn’t the start of it all for me. It was way back at Oulton Park talking to Adrian Japp and Dave Fearon about long distance time trials. They really got into my head and I set my aspirations to long distance testing!
Fast forwarding back to the present I write this just over 24 hours after completing the 12 hour TT. An experience I will never forget! I must say early on this was not a solo effort. Dave Fearon and Jim Williams I will forever be in your debt and you are a credit to the sport. Without these two I would not have completed my effort and without others like them there would be no cycling scene or even worse it would all be online, god forbid!
The morning of. An alarm set for 03:30 (AM) meant I should have been in bed and asleep by 9.30 ideally, but my mind was spinning and I couldn’t stop thinking about what was to come. I checked the time at 22:10 and don’t remember anything after that. Until the alarm came around one at 03:30 one at 03:35 one at 03:40 and a final one at 03:45, I was worried I wouldn’t get up. I sat down to eat a large bowl of porridge around a cup or 97 grams of carbs in my head. A good cup of fresh coffee poured fresh from the espresso machine. Followed by seeing Dave’s car head lights beaming through my living room window. We filled the car, a large cool bag full of food, a bag full of spare clothes, two 5 litre bottles one energy one electrolyte, Aero helmet, regular helmet, TT bike and my road bike. Was there anything we had forgot?
We set off into the dark with many rabbits dashing across the roads in front of us. Turning up to the HQ at around 05:15 one hour before my start time I felt like I didn’t have much to do as my skin suit was on my bike was ready and as I was riding so far I wouldn’t need a warm up. The hour flew by and before I knew it I’d had a wee jumped on my bike and was shivering my way to the start line still wrapped up in my jacket. 06:10 and I knew I was off soon, 06:15 Jill Wilkinson rode off the line and it was my time. I calmed my nerves and cleared my mind ready to settle in to 12 hours on the bike.
Good, hopefully we won’t take too long.
I set off still shivering but quickly settled in and started to think about the schedule. 10 miles was set for 26.30 I came in a minute down, WTF? How did I loose a minute? I best get a wiggle on, maybe it was the first feed? Did I slow down too much? Was it because I was laughing so much at how badly I threw that bottle and someone had to chase it down the road? Anyway 25 miles was scheduled for 1.06.00 well would you look at that, I pulled that minute back and I was running bang on schedule, maybe I was starting to get into a rhythm, maybe I had warmed up fully and was going well.
50 miles seemed much further away with a schedule set at 02.14.00 and again I came in bang on schedule, you better believe I was feeling pretty smug. The feeds were coming in on schedule and I was starting to get the whole throwing the bottle thing. 75 Miles came and I had let my schedule slip a bit but I had a very slight bad spell where my head dipped a little. 100 miles, a century a good distance often referred to as the marathon in cycling. Here is where I was going somewhat into the unknown; my schedule says 4.36.00 I came in at 4.34.40 so my spirits were pretty high. 125 miles came around my schedule said 5.50.00 I came in at 5.49.30, here’s where my head had really dropped I was finding it hard to keep going I hadn’t hit half way and there was no way I could keep going! ‘Sod it I’m done’ ‘I can’t do this anymore’ ‘people will understand’. All thoughts that went through my head until I came to a feed and I said to Dave lets stop at 150. It was a turning point my schedule said 07.06 I came in at 07.04.50 I took 5 minutes stretched a little took a new bottle reapplied a certain cream and ate a croissant. Thank god for savoury!
The second half! I had a quick stretch and set back off revitalised, still knackered but with a new mind set I was going to finish and I wanted to do well. Plus I was on target. 175 miles, schedule 08.24.00 actual 08.24.50. Considering I stopped for 5 minutes I had made it almost back to schedule and I was really getting my self together. 200 Miles, schedule 09.44, actual 09.38.25 I was onto the finishing circuit I was flying in places hitting just over 30mph in one area where I took the privilege to get into an aero tuck and release some aches and pains.
The last 40 miles, in my head the schedule went out the window. I kept telling myself it’s 40 miles and you’ve got a good amount of time. It just so happens that at 225 miles my schedule said 11.06.00 and I came in at 10.55.45 well 10 minutes is enough to give me 3 extra miles on that so lets get pedalling. I was spurred on by hearing the. News that Lynsey was on the course, seeing her best impression of Didi the devil was enough to bring a tear to my eye. I was in a lot of pain and was feeling emotional. The last hour was enough to see me smash home with 245.38 miles (provisional) and 10th place overall.
I must again express my gratitude to Dave and Jim for their support and feeding throughout the day not to mention their ability to keep me going when I wanted to give in.
For anyone who is interested in the nutrition.
My feed schedule was 72g carbs per hour and I ran a flat insulin profile on my insulin pump at 0.155 units per hour and took no extra insulin to cover feeding. I would love to go into more detail but we kept it super simple and it worked for us.