My first race of the year was Redhill CC’s 19 mile ‘sporting’ time trial. It takes places around Reigate, near Redhill, Surry. It is also quite close to Box hill, the climb which will be used for the Olympic road race. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever raced in Surrey. (See random fact of day at bottom)
It was a great day, but cold. I was glad to be off last out of 70 riders at 10.10, I think by that time the temperature rose from 2 to 3 degrees.
My warm up was cycling through Reigate’s one way system to find the start. I had planned to drive the course before hand. But, as usual, I got there too late and didn’t have time. For riding a sporting course, it’s definitely helpful to know the course before hand. If you don’t know the corners, you can lose quite a bit of time.
However, the course wasn’t too technical, and it wasn’t such a disadvantage to ride the course blind. It was quite fun racing through the shallow gradients and sweeping corners. It was also very well sign posted. I’ve often done races, and never been entirely sure you’re on the right road. But, Redhill CC did a great job with marshalling. After the race, back at the HQ, I saw one young marshall trying to recover from the freezing cold. I think it’s easier to ride these events than stand on the side of the road with a flag.
Box Hill. Photo the Fixed Factor
The start is on a hill, with a short section of 1/8. The rest of the course, I would describe as rolling with fairly shallow gradients (at least compared to my hill climb season). I tried to moderate my efforts to try a little harder on the hills and into the headwind, and hold back a little on the faster sections. I think that worked relatively OK. But, when I finished I wasn’t too spent, despite the last five miles into a headwind.
I felt I had gone harder on an earlier season turbo session. But, in your first race, especially in the cold, it’s hard to fully get into that race mentality and remembering how hard you can push it throughout the race.
Anyway, whatever happens, you can always say to yourself, it’s just February, and any race this early is just a bonus.
Despite the cold, there were a lot of other cyclists on the road in Surrey. It must be partly due to the excitement of the Olympic road race and the general boom in cycling. Overall, it was a good event, and I’m glad I entered the race, though if I was given a choice, I think I would have preferred to be riding in the heated Olympic Velodrome with 5,000 cheering spectators and live on tele. I think a 19 mile time trial with a few amateurs, would make a great warm up before the likes of Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton take to the boards with their short 500 metre races.
From the results board, I think I finished second. From memory:
- Steve Berry, Team Swift 42.04
- Tejvan Pettinger, Sri Chinmoy Cycling Team 42.24
- Cornall Yates S In-Gear QuickVit Trainsharp RT 42.44
- 50 Rupert Burbidge S In-Gear QuickVit Trainsharp RT 43.355. Steve Irwin V41 Kingston Wheelers 43.366. Richard Prebble V44 Node4-Giordana RT 43.447. Chris Birch S East Street Cycles.com 43.51
(Random fact of the day, I was born in Runnymeade, Surrey. When three years old, I moved to Yorkshire. Because I couldn’t remember living in Surrey, I always thought I was a Yorkshireman, but when I wanted to be a professional cricketer – I found I couldn’t play for Yorkshire CC because I wasn’t born their. Good old Yorkshire were still living in the nineteenth century having that rule. I’ve always supported Surrey CC ever since. Though ironically, if you search for Yorkshire Independence on google, you will find me and my Dad’s site ‘godsowncounty.co.uk’ appear near the top.) Anyway, sorry I digress from cycling….