Last year, the Buxton MTT was run against a backdrop of quite impressive looking snowdrifts. This year, the original date was cancelled due to even heavier snow, but fortunately was rearranged to this May bank holiday. After all the snow cancellation, it was typical the event would be run under balmy conditions, 17 degrees and sun. But, whatever the weather, the Buxton course around Longnor is one of the hardest time trials on the calender. Over 1,000 metres of climbing in 33 miles. It’s either going up or going down and not very much in between. Because of the hilly parcours it suits me down to a tea. Last year, I was within a minute of Matt Bottrill (who on a flat course would probably put 3-5 mins into me) So this year it was a target for the early season hillies.
Last weekend, after having a heavy cold, I rode quite conservatively in the Little Mountain TT. But, with Buxton I knew every hill and the route quite well, and I decided to ride quite hard from the start and see. The start of the race could easily be a hill climb course. After a short up and down, you face the long drag up Hollinsclough Moor, which climbs over 200 metres. At the top it’s over 465 metres altitude making it one of the highest time trials in the land. Then there is a section on the A53 which was a bit of a headwind, before turning left back to Longnor. The descent was pretty fast with a side / tail wind pushing you along. It was pretty useful having a top gear of 56*11, it meant I never really span out of gears, getting close to 50mph on descent.
Quite a few riders entered the road bike competition, but I went for full time trial bike + discwheel. It’s a bit more weight on the hill, but into the headwind you save really quite a lot. My first lap was very quick – 27.02. I was really flying up the first hill. But, then it was hard work to maintain that speed, and by the third lap I was going down to the lowest gear on the last climb, that third climb is really tough, no matter how much you weigh! There was someone on the course who shouted out a few times that I was on course for the course record. It was an added motivation, but I paid for the first sprint up the hill and was a bit slower on last lap so I missed out. In the end, my time of 1.23.20 was a minute off Stuart Dangerfield’s old course record, 01:22:13 set in August 2003.
Matt Clinton (mikevaughan.co.uk) was second, and Mike Cuming (Rapha JLT) was third. (though I was lucky Mike Cuming rode a road bike and not a TT bike!) Mike said he’s off to do the Tour of Ireland and then the Tour of Korea in the next few weeks, good luck!
I can’t remember the other results, but hopefully they will be published soon.
I really enjoyed the race, and finished first – winning a nice cake, some coffee cups and £70 from the generous sponsors.
Thanks to the Buxton CC marhalls, supporters and the organiser, Richard. It was very good event, and maybe if the weather gods are kind in 2014, it might be possible to get a little closer to the course record.
After race, I cycled off to Peaslows hill to have a look. That was really hard work. I was going slow enough to enjoy the scenery, but the legs were really tired. A strange thing is that the week before the race I did 600km – the biggest mileage I think I’ve ever done. I probably I got over excited about the sun and assumed this would be the only good week of weather all year. I didn’t feel tired, but I wasn’t really tapering. I was influenced by an article in Cycling Weekly which showed Alex Dowsett’s run up to British time trial championship. Basically he did 2-3 hours every day in week before.
I also spent a lot of last week thinking about a 12 hour time trial in August, so I became a mile muncher. Going off to Peaslows reminded me of the 24 hour climbing record, but that can wait for another day, I’m off to eat my cake.
Buxton MTT photos from Ed Rollason
Photos from handlebars
Thanks to Bhima Bowden who got these photos from his handlebar video. It’s kind of fun, so I’ll publish them here.