My first ride in the National 10 mile championships, and first race in Scotland.
It is usually quite competitive to get into the National 10 mile championships, but with it being held in Irvine, Ayrshire this year a lot of riders clearly weren't going to travel so far North and so I managed to get an entry amongst a largely Scottish field. The championship is slightly unusual in that the riders are seeded from slowest to fastest, so in theory you are unlikely to either catch a rider or be caught. I was slightly surprised to have a number as high as 54.
The course at Irvine is all on dual carriageway and is really quite flat. The only odd thing about the course is that after about three miles the left hand lane of three becomes a slip road and you have to move out into lane 2. Such moves are very rare on time trial courses these days and I assume is only allowed due to the low traffic levels on this road.
The promoting clubs had set up a starting ramp, which was something of a novelty although apparently it had proved too slippery to use for the women's race the day before (who could have anticipated rain in Scotland?). For the men's race it had been given a covering of artificial grass.
Starting at 9.54, I was focusing intently on not falling off the side of the ramp; I wasn't expecting that the artificial grass would be so resistant and it was more of an effort than anticipated to make it down the ramp!
Turning down the slip road onto the A78 the headwind didn't feel as strong as I thought it would be. The reason for this became apparent as the course isn't entirely straight and within a couple of miles it had curved south and straight into a gale. I made the mistake of starting too fast and by the time I had made my manoeuvre out into lane 2 I was really feeling the headwind. The remaining miles to the turn were hard work as I watched my average speed steadily drop to 25 mph, which to be fair isn't too bad into the wind.
Approaching the turn I had a considerate driver let me out into the right hand lane and I had a clear run around the roundabout. The tailwind was most welcome but didn't seem to lift my speed high enough to compensate for my slow outward leg. As the course started to swing towards the west the tailwind was lost amongst the shelter of the trees and the drag uphill with a mile and a half to go took any remaining speed away from me.
Photo by Larry Hickmott
I just about managed to hang on to a 26 mph average speed to finish with a time of 23:03, placing 76th out of 141 riders. My average heart rate was a new best for the year of 170 bpm, so at least I know I was trying. My power was down on my best though, which I suppose isn't surprising after a 12 hour race just two weeks before!