First 100 Mile TT and NFCC age group record.
Posted on 22nd Jun 2017
I don't really like early mornings so going to bed at 8.00pm and setting the alarm for 2.30am alarm isn't ideal preparation. But its necessary when you have a drive to Kent for a 6.00am start. It was therefore with an joint sense of excitement and concern that on Saturday afternoon I packed everything I thought I might need ready for the early start. Excitement because its good to do challenging new things and concern because I hadn't ridden over 30 miles on a TT bike before and I hadn't even been to the area never mind ridden the course. Luckily the drive was OK and we arrived at the HQ on time. A quick change and my warmup was the 7 mile commute to the start. The time I had to beat was 4hrs 30 minutes which calculates to a touch over 22mph. I'd done a few quick tests and estimated that would require a steady 200-210 watts. The Q100 course is located on Romney Marshes and resembles a hanging frying pan. I was expecting a flat course that headed up to Ashford before looping around an exposed section and returning through attractive villages. It started better than expected. The road to Ashford then back to Brenzett is quite good and I made good time whilst watching my power. Then follows four loops of twenty miles including roundabouts, 90 degree corners, level crossings, traffic lights and a bumpy "joined slab" road surface. In total I estimate about 30 roundabouts, 12 level crossings and 16 miles of joins across the road. In others words, interesting rather than fast. The first loop was fine. I felt OK for energy but knew I needed to stay hydrated so I collected a bottle of energy drink from the roadside and poured it into my hydration system. I'd decided against using a camelback bag because I hadn't tested it on a long ride and I was worried about feeling too sweaty. Drinking whilst in the TT position isn't easy but its possible if you pick low HR times, suck, then sit up a bit. On the 2nd lap the wind started to get up and the stretch down to Rye became more difficult. There were dunes and sea wall which protected the coastal road from crosswinds to a degree but the road surface here isn't great and strong gusts were also a worry. Luckily on the leg up towards New Romney, a strong tail wind made life much easier and raised my average speed up again. The course was really well marshalled and signed. The marshalls were clear with their instructions and actively encouraged riders. There were also a surprising number of spectators around the course who also clapped and shouted encouragement. Many of these were taking part in a sportive I guess but their support was welcome. After the second loop, I took another bottle and plodded on into the increasing wind. With about 60 miles gone, my average was 24mph which meant I could ease off a little later if I tired. My main concern however was my padded undershorts were rubbing my inner thigh causing soreness which became increasing painful. The next lap was much the same and the wind continued to increase. I eat a couple of bars but my energy levels seemed fine and at a relatively low wattage, me legs were OK too. My inner thigh did become quite irritating so I took it easier on the last lap safe in the knowledge that I just needed to get around to achieve my target. The final time was 4 hours 19 minutes with an average speed of 23.2mph. The average power required at 190 watts turned out to be lower than the 200-210 watts I'd expected and my average heart rate was 138bpm. That's lower than I expected too as my 60 minute HR FTP is around 162bpm. I was a late starter so back at the HQ there were still a few tired but relieved riders although many had already started to make their way home. So what did I learn from my first 100 mile TT? Well, I think it would definitely be worth staying nearby in a B&B to limit the disruption to routine. Eating well the day before is really helpful and I didn't need much extra energy. Yes I eat a couple of bars but mainly because I thought I should. I did have energy drink and this may have helped but it upset my stomach for the next couple of days so next time I would probably drink plain water. After the event I had a recovery drink and with hindsight I should have brought a proper cold meal with me instead. So in summary, the actual riding was fine and I could certainly go quite a bit faster but I would need to harden up my body by doing long rides in the TT position. I'd certainly eat well the day before but this time I'd drink plain water with backup energy if required from standard bars and maybe a few gels. It may be different though if the ride was ridden at an higher HR where energy from the body cannot be utilized so easily. On the return to Bournemouth I took the scenic route via Rye, Hastings, Eastbourne, Arundel etc calling at Tesco enroute for more food. Hastings was a big disappointment so I drove on but the castle at Arundel is still as picturesque as I remember it from childhood. Job done.