My topsy turvy season continued this weekend with the Bridlington 10 around the undulating course at Burton Fleming. Fresh from a week’s training in Tenerife with plenty of climbing in my legs, I was hopeful of notching another win in the series which would hopefully push me closer to the YCF Spoco title.
I travelled to the event with my good friend and team mate Blair Buss and we spent 2 hours in the car trying to psyche each other out… Just kidding. We spent 2 hours talking politics! Yawn.
On arrival at the HQ I collected my number, got the bike ready and commenced a 40 minute warm up on the turbo trainer in the glorious sunshine. The legs felt pretty heavy after the week in Tenerife and my negative TSB was at the forefront of my mind as I tried to ramp things up and get my lungs ready to do battle. Final preparations done I rode the 2 miles to the start. The wind was in the wrong direction for this course. Last year the westerly wind assisted in me nearly breaking James Gullen’s course record, but this year the Easterly wind, albeit fairly light, was to provide little assistance other than for the first 3 mile climb, which definitely helped me take the KOM on the day for that particular segment.
After a few weeks off racing I knew I would be a little rusty to begin with but hopefully as the race progressed I would begin to get into my stride. As the starter began to count down I took a few deep breaths and then I was off. As mentioned, the first 3 miles are uphill at an average gradient of 2%. With the tailwind helping riders up the incline I negotiated the first section of the course pretty well and began to settle into a rhythm. After you crest the 3 mile climb you begin a fast descent; flicking quickly through the gears my di2 derailleur decided to throw my chain off, I managed to catch it on the crank arm and reach down quickly to put it back on. A few seconds lost and with oil all over my hands I settled back down into a rhythm and concentrated on catching my minute man, Andrew Askwith. This is a course Andy knows well and it took me an age to reel him in. Course knowledge is really beneficial on a course like this because there were a few sweeping bends were I needlessly braked too hard and scrubbed too much speed off, and a few other bends where I didn’t brake quickly enough in advance resulting in me slamming the brakes on and losing momentum.
As the miles ticked by the average speed was slowly creeping up to 28mph and I briefly had thoughts of getting close to last years time, but as you take the T Junction at Wolds Newton and commence the run in through Burton Fleming, the headwind put a stop to the increase in the average speed and it began a fight to keep it above 27mph ave. The last 2 miles are really undulating with two lung busting climbs before a very fast descent to the finish. I managed to catch Andy at 8 miles, just before the first climb back up to the finish line. I ramped things up as hard as I could to the finish line, averaging 410 watts for the last 2 minutes, and stopped the clock in 22:04 which was almost a minute slower than last year. On riding back to the HQ I forgot I had oil all over my hands and as I brushed the flies off my skinsuit with my hand I managed to get oil all over my sleeves! Another item of kit ruined.
Upon arriving back to HQ I was told I had won the event by over 30 seconds from an ever improving Stewart Gormley of Team Swift. A fairly comfortable win in the end which resulted in me going to the top of the YCF Spoco Series leader board. On checking my data afterwards I pleased to see a power PB for the season with my levels slowly getting back to the levels I set last year. Thanks to my coach Bob Tobin for his patience with me this year. Things are now settling down at home with the little one finally sleeping a lot better than she was 3 months ago meaning my training has been more consistent. Thanks as ever to our great sponsors, SSLL, No Pinz and OTE.