Tuesday 4 September 2012

BC/CTT Time Trial Champs

James Gilfillan rides and writes.... The 2012 British Time trial champs (at present a joint production by British Cycling and the CTT) took place near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire on Sunday. Taking riders away from the smooth surfaces of the nation’s dual carriageways the 21 miles took in minor roads through farmlands of the Belvoir valley. Based on a road race circuit, the course had bits of everything to test the 150 over-30 men. As opposed to the previous year’s almost flat course, this year had a significant climb half way through the 21 miles, initially climbing steadily before ramping up steeply for the last 500ish m. What goes up must come down, but the many twists and turns meant the descent never opened out into a 50mph frenzy. The run to the finish, covered twice over the 1 ½ laps was an almost dead straight gradual drag up into a wind that sucked the speed out of weary legs. As defending champion in the 30-34 age group and quickest Master last year I was nervous about defending my title, especially having seen a variety of 19 and 49mins rides by many of the riders due to start after me, but felt the course would suit me well. Field placing was in reverse order of entry times meaning ‘catches’ were unlikely and even more so when your minute man doesn’t start and your 2 mins man is standing on the side of the road poking at his front wheel when you pass him. This lead to a ‘lonely’ ride, with nothing against which to gauge how well I was riding. Having ridden a short section of the course on Saturday, up the main hill and sharpest of the corners, I’d decided on a strategy of trying to recover on the mile drag approaching the steep section of the climb, drop into the little ring before actually hitting the steep section. However my strategy didn’t take account of the first sharp corner taken at high speed about 2 miles after the start or the arrival of tractors and combines out on the course! Accelerating after dodgy corners has been a factor of my cycling and getting around the tractors wasn’t that difficult on the straight sections of the course, but distractions none-the-less and no worse than a herd of cows or donkeys on the forest roads. The long climb went smoothly, recycling the worst of the corners paid off and the ½ lap to the finish was underway. I still felt in control of the ride and knew it’d be about getting as much out on the run into the wind to the finish line. My pre-race concerns were clearly misplaced. Back to the HQ and the usual check of the results board showed It’d taken my category and was quickest master on the day again, repeating my feat of last year, but by a significantly greater margin! Perhaps those 19’s and 49’s are overrated!

Also racing from Contre La Montre were Harry Bulstrode (30-34) who took 5th despite puncturing on the way to the start and getting a loan of a disc from a random competitor who’d finished and Steve Whitewick who claimed silver in the 50-55 category. Representing the New Forest in the Women’s field was new 10mile comp record holder Julia Shaw, vying for a place on the GB worlds team.(Shaw has been named on the long list) Clearly in form Julia took 2nd place behind ‘non-riding’ Olympian Wendy Houvenaghal, who to have been in with a shout of a place in the pursuit squad must also be in great form. Alex Dowsett reclaimed his title of a year ago in a relatively quiet mens field that saw many DNS’s due to illness or other commitments.

photos:Emma Lack

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