I was in two minds about actually riding this event. Since my stroke my times up Patterson have been well over 10 minutes slower than they were in the good old days. I reckon I am at about 70% fitness but seem worse when things get really steep. In the past I used to think of improving my time but now all I think is, “can I actually get up the steep bits?”. I can’t get over how hard the climb feels now, especially with a headwind and heat. Back in 2014 I did 31m06s for the TT which was good enough for second place but now It would be a real struggle to beat the last place time of 48 minutes. Back then I was riding the climb regularly with the Cycletrons and always in the top few riders over the top of Patterson. My goal for the day was much more humble and to not come last (very tall order). If I could get within 130% of my last time I would be pleased so my stretch goal was beating 40 Minutes. Of course a strong variable on this climb is the headwind and I have encountered some monsters on here.
When I rode the event in 2014 I did 20m36s for the Patterson TT segment with an average wattage of 329W and an average heart rate of 175 bpm. When I did a practice attempt, on the Wednesday before the event, my time for the same segment was 31m25s with an average wattage of 241W and a heart rate of 161bpm. Back then my max heart rate was approx. 185bpm and now it is about 175bpm. I have to admit the wind was pretty unfavorable on my practice attempt but I cant remember what it was like for the race. It is normally a nasty headwind up the climb in July.
Back in 2014 I put some clip on aero bars on my Tarmac and I am sure these helped a lot on the bottom couple of miles of the climb. I decided to risk my bad balance issues and try to fit them for this event but unfortunately was unable to find them. My race tactic was to try to have something in reserve for the three steep sections and not go too mad on the Midway Climb (My midway times are also down about 30%.). I knew if I hit the steep bits already close to max that I would suffer really badly and lose more time.
My chosen steed for the race was my Storck with a 34×28 bottom gear and I decided to not go with the Kask helmet as heat on this climb can be vicious. I don’t own a skinsuit anymore but our team jerseys are pretty aero. I had had a stomach bug all week before the event so I didn’t feel brilliant but not too bad. When I was warming up I saw lots of skinsuits, deep dish wheels, aero bars and aero helmets.
The race itself went pretty much to plan. I think I did a pretty good job of pacing myself on the bit up to the main climb and never really went too deep. I think the wind was kinder than it has been for the past few weeks but it was pretty warm. I got caught by two riders and they went past me as if I was stood still. Despite pacing myself well, I still completely blew up in the last 200 yards and it was horrible. My time up Midway was 2m31s (285W) compared to 2m01s (388W) back in 2014. My time up Patterson was25m35s (243W) compared to 20m36 (329W) in 2014.
My goal was to beat 40 minutes and not come last and I achieved both those. My time was 6m50s off my last time on this race which is around 15% down but better than I hoped. The winners time was excellent and even back to my 2014 fitness I would not have been close to that.
- Time : 00:37:56 Position 12th out of 14 finishers.
- Winner : 00:27:03 Scott Lemke (Eden Bicycles Racing Club)