Prologue : The Redkite Hill Climb
- Dist : 4.5 miles
- Climb: 745 feet
At the end of March I had a huge setback and for the week after I barely touched my bike. I was ready right then and there to give up cycling. Thanks to support from my wife and friends I decided to keep on cycling. I have decided to abandon my plans for the state 25 mile champs and cancelled several other events I had planned. It took a huge chunk of enthusiasm out of riding the bike
I have done quite a few practice attempts at the Del Valle climb since my stroke and the results are have not been so good. In fact it seemed as if I was getting slower as the year went on. I cant get my head round this but I was actually faster on my recumbent trike than I can manage today. My p.b. is 6m48s from back in 2015 and by the beginning of May I couldn’t even manage to break 10 minutes. When I did my p.b, I averaged 417W and since my stroke (before May) I managed around 260W. I can honestly say that I feel worse at 260W than I did at 400W. According to Strava I have done the climb 59 times and 40 of those were under 10 minutes before my stroke.
I started to see a bit of promise in May and at last managed to beat 10 minutes. My power up the climb had climbed to to 289W and I did 9m33s. This is still a long way short of my previous power but going the right way. When I was five pounds lighter 300W was good enough for me to break into 8 minutes. Unfortunately I came down with a cold two weeks before the event which dragged on till the Tuesday before and stopped me taking advantage of my improvement. The challenge will be to beat 10 minutes up the climb after already putting in the 3 mile effort on the flat (a pacing challenge)
I have only done one practice attempt at actually doing the full time trial and it was very difficult to pace the bottom section so I didn’t completely blow up on the climb. My time up the climb with this practice attempt was over 10 minutes despite trying to ride the first 3 miles at FTP. It was a hot day (90 degrees plus) and this made the climb very nasty. My plan was to keep the first section to FTP and then do whatever I could on the steep climb. I was also suffering from a bit of a cold on this attempt. On this attempt my power on the climb was 273W which is down a bit on my best ride since the stroke but not too bad. My numbers showed my 20 minute power to be 227W which is what I expect. My current FTP is approximately 215W which is way down on my 2015 FTP of 346W. My time was about 3m15s down on my best for this segment. It looks like The flat section and the climb are roughly 50/50 time wise.
For the race itself it was rather a disappointing sign up with only 14 riders. I entered the 45+ 3/4 category but with little hope of coming in anything but last. I secretly hoped that people may go too hard at the start and blow up big time on the hill and as such set a poor time. I do have a local knowledge advantage but I am really riding at CAT 5 level since my stroke and my goal was to try to beat my practice time. If I had my 2015 form I would hope to be about 3 minutes faster and perhaps be fighting out for the podium. My chosen race bike was the Storck without my Kask aero helmet. The Storck was approx. 17 pounds which is not particularly light by modern standards but ok. I expected some people in my category had bikes that may be down to about 14 pounds. My goal was to do a sub ten minute climb.
Race was cool and overcast with light winds. I felt OK on my warmup ride to the start but it was a little chilly. I set off at steady pace and was determined not to over cook it at the start. I kept my power around FTP effort and thought I had a pretty good pace but I got caught by minute man (Ex team mate Rick Lawton) before 3 miles. I put in a pretty good effort on the climb and did a post stroke PB of 9m15s (301W). My result wasn’t last but that was because the rider in last place missed his start. My PB for this course was 16m33s so I was very pleased to just be within 2.5 minutes of that. The winner of my category did an amazing time of 15m20s.
- Result : 12th
- Time : 18m58s
- Power : 277W
- Winner: J Rajhalme (15m20s)