Race Report – The Spring Onion

The report…

The Spring Onion is a cracking local event of 65 miles (104.5 km in Triathlon speak). Run by Dudley of 50/34 events it is good value too.

Starting in Cobham town centre at a gentle 8:15 am (and how easy is that?) we rolled out like a marauding group of Viking Raiders. Dodging Nannies in Range Rovers heading for their skinny latte take outs, riders of all shapes & sizes were at 150% of FTP in the gentle upward drag to Effingham and White Down. I took the chance to snuggle up behind some of the ‘fuller figured’ riders to save the limited watts I had so far accumulated this season.

By the time we were in ‘The Street’ in Effingham the group of 50 odd was down to 15 or so, as we got going on the drag up past St Theresa’s to White Down. At White Down we are down to 10 riders – 8 Dynamos plus 2 including me.

By the top of Leith we are 7.

We then head out into the real Surrey & Sussex countryside, up Smokejack Hill & past pubs called ‘Badger’s Spleen’ and ‘Ocelot’s Nipple’ where local farming types with bugger-grip side-burns will later be sat drinking Old Thumper. From the back of my group the view looks great, sprawling country homes for the fishing and shooting types.

Wisborough Green is where the halfway feed station is at. The trouble is we get there too fast, & they are not yet set up! In any event we have no plans to stop for snacks, and trundle past looking serious. I am already starting to suppress the need to wee. Being over 50 this is a big disadvantage, as whilst it is well-documented muscles waste faster as we age, it is also seemingly true that your bladder gets much smaller. Mine seems to be about as big (or small?) as a walnut as I try to think about anything else.

I venture the idea of a stop but nobody else is keen as they are all too young, and still have bladders the size of grapefruits.

At the Foxbridge Lane climb we lose a Dynamo as he goes shooting out the back. I bet he stops to pee, lucky thing.

Two fast riders then breeze past. WTF?

I realise that there is no way I can keep up and let them go, but two of our crew try in vain to keep up, and waste some energy. By Hascombe Hill the two speedsters are long gone (to eventually finish 1st & 2nd). I tell myself they are young and don’t have proper jobs, wives, families, cats or dogs, so can train a lot more. If nothing else it stops me thinking about having a wee.

At Hascombe Hill we also lose another Dynamo out the back, so now we are down to 5 (3 Dynamos plus Jonathan from Cadence, and me). I almost get a nose bleed by venturing to the front, & thankfully before too long we arrive at Coombe via Bramley, Chilworth & Albury. Up Coombe I am having to back off, the other guys are all bigger & gravity is taking its toll. I suspect their larger bladders don’t help here, they could have been so much lighter had we stopped to wee.

There is no point in riding off to get away, as from the top of Coombe it is all downhill as we scream down Green Dene, into Effingham and then Cobham. Again time to be in a group and to know you need to do that before you start the ride. I am now on & off the front with Jonathan, pulling as fast as my little legs can go. We scream into Cobham which is now very busy. Range Rovers are again everywhere, as Davinia & Claudia head for extra Ballet & Piers & Miles are dropped off at the Skate Park. We avoid any collisions and I let the guys roll in ahead, as that is good rider etiquette having sucked their wheels like Linda Lovelace!

Dudley has, as always, put on great post-ride snacks & pasta. After pi$$ing like a racehorse I scoff down loads of protein (as well as some junkier stuff) and chat to the guys I rode with, who are all lovely. We work out we placed 3rd to 7th (with me in 7th). I ponder suggesting an over 50’s category for 2017 and then roll home.

Lessons from the day?

Racecraft in cycling events includes knowing when to push, and when to sit in (& hide). For a fast time in this event you need to be with a good group after the top of Leith Hill, as from there it is flatter for long periods. Therefore, know your route in advance, so in this instance pushing hard early actually worked well. Conversely start too slow & you spend the ride with a weaker slower group, who will rely on you to do more of the heavy lifting. Choosing not to stop at the feeds in shorter events, especially when the weather is cool can save time too. Having a powermeter helps hugely, as if you ‘know your numbers’ you are less likely to blow to pieces and can become more skilled at conserving power to use it when needed. To know your numbers you ideally need a coach, for me that has been the best money spent in cycling!

There were some other Viceroys there, so they too should write up how they got on?

Have a good season everyone, you can do more than you think you can!

Race results can be found here.

Pete

Race Report – St Neots – British Sprint Championships

FullSizeRenderWith over 900 people descending on St Neots and the river Ouse for a triple header for British Championship honours and world & European qualifiers, the best of the best where looking to set a marker at the beginning of the season. I was off in the fourth wave with over 170 across two age groups. In 13.5 degrees the swim was hectic and cold. I struggled over the first 375m to find any rhythm and unfortunately gave away a little distance to a couple of strong swimmers. Not phased I turned back upstream and closed the gap.

With a fast T1 I moved into third place and throughout the course of the ride I could see the top two in the distance. Over the final 5km I closed the gap and moved into second but the overall winner had also pushed on. As we came into T2 I was side by side to the other athlete. A solid transition I looked to exit transition and focus on my run. The other guy flew out and got a small gap. I wasn’t concerned as I was moving well off a hard bike so I was confident I would catch him. Which I did at the end of lap 1. I looked to maintain the pace knowing it was good enough to catch him and save some for the final 1km. I pushed hard and set my best run split to date and came on in 2nd place and AG Silver medalist. I’ve beaten the winner before but on this day he was the better man and well deserved – I will get him next time.
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Although I’d already qualified for the worlds, it was nice gain a silver medal and also my European place for Lisbon 2016. The season now can progress with everything nicely in place

Thanks for your support and I will be back in touch after my next race at Eton Dorney

Mark

Race Report – Mark Yeoman – Ocean Lake Triathlon

And so the 2015 season starts…

After an amazing 2014 season which saw me win nice races and culminate with finish 6th overall at the grand final in Edmonton. 2015 is all about building slowly for grand final in the Windy City -Chicago where I have already qualified for based on being the top British athlete from the 2014 final.

Winter has been good with plenty of hours spent in the pool, on the WattBike & running. My focus is clearly my weakness – the run so I’ve worked hard to strengthen up those legs ahead of the season.

On Saturday 25th April i dipped my toe into an icy 14degree lake in Kent for the Ocean Lake Triathlon. I settled into a steady pace in the swim but getting into the cold lake for the first time I was someone rusty and gave away a few metres on one guy. Not getting stressed he exited the water just ahead of me & as I eased out a low 10min swim which was pleasing considering the water temperature. Flying through T1 setting the fastest transition I took the lead and never looked back. I had cycled to feeling as my Garmin zoned out as I couldn’t get my cadence sensor amass the others in transition when setting up. Using the WattBike has help increase my power & cadence so I eased to the fastest bike split on a tricky course due to the windy & damp conditions. I had a little gap over 2nd and looked to settled into a nice pace on the run but with ice cold feet this was hard. On the 2nd lap 2nd place had gained but not as much as I’d presumed.  I looked to overtake those on their first lap to hide but at 4km he pulled alongside. I looked to hold close and over the final few hundred metres he put a spurt on to pip me by  9seconds. A solid 2nd place overall and good hit out to break the season in.

Two weeks to build into the first qualifier of the season where I can see who’s who’s ahead of the grand final.

Mark

Race Report – Colette Kitterhing

If anyone wants to plan a “bucket list” early season race then I can highly recommend Cannes.

There are 2 distances, I did the “medium” 1k swim, 40k ride and 8k run (half of the distance of the “long”

Swim – My first mass sea start and with about 650 athletes gong off I was feeling very apprehensive and decided to hold back and entered toward the back. Swimming with a friend we stuck together defending each other from the masses and picking our way through the field. I was extremely happy to see so many bikes as we came to T1.

Bike – About 3k of flat and then the climb out of Cannes. Roughly 850m of climbing over the next 40k followed. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, amazing roads, brilliantly marshalled and policed for a safe, fair race. I caught 2 girls and was passed by one in the first half. At 25k the rain started and it began to get a bit hairy on the descents.  A couple of bikes in front of me wiped out on sharp bends, I decided to hold back a bit. The rain  worked in my favour, I’m not he bravest descender but clearly not as cautious as some as I managed to pass a few men 😀

Run – In to  T2 and my legs felt ok. 2 out and backs along  the Croisette.  I was not 100% sure of my position a few had passed me on the bike  I couldn’t be sure if they were male or female… Spotting a girl ahead I chased her down. I felt comfortable and was just enjoying the moment. Pleased to be passing more than passed me, then in the last 1k I pushed a bit and caught the shoulder of a guy from Monaco Tri Club who looked over and encouragingly said “stick with me” it was great help and he paced me to the red carpet.

One final push for a sprint run down the carpet and to a great medal for the collection.

What can I say, what a venue, what a race….Can’t wait till next year.

1st Age Group \ 8th Female

CK2