Saturday was a 10 mile time trial promoted by Hemel Hempstead CC on a relatively new 10 mile course (F11-10) using the A41 Aston Clifton bypass.
The course is quite close to Oxford so I entered. I set a pb of 20.00
Course record: Steve Irwin 18.39 May 2013
The course turned out to be very fast because it has a section of downhill, but the finish is at the bottom. A bit of a ‘cheat’ course, but in the strange world of timetrialling, this makes it very popular. After quick times, I’m sure future events will be oversubscribed.
You start on a slip road onto the dual carriageway. The first two miles is quite bumpy with ridges across the surface. (Like many others, I found my tribars came lose. If you’re going to do this course, I advise getting the torque paste and torque wrench out. It’s really rough.) I tried to find a smoother part of the road, but the bumps seemed unavoidable. After two miles, you come to the first turn. Here you have to be careful as you come off a downhill slip road and the first junction has poor visibility from the cars coming from the right. In the Hemel Hempstead event there was a marshall giving an indication about oncoming cars, but you have to be prepared to come to complete stop. The turn involves a double set of roundabouts, like a ‘dog’s bone, and then you’re back on the A41 dual carriageway. After going past the start point (at halfway), there is quite a lengthy downhill section of around 3-5%. Gavin Atkins said he got up to 50mph when setting his time of 19.17. I was riding 56*11 all the way down, but not spinning out.
There is one final turn at the roundabout near Aylesbury and then 2 miles back to finish on slip road.
Obviously, it’s a course where heavier riders will do relatively better than other course. There’s no advantage of being a mountain goat on this course. The downhill is considerably fast so it rewards riders willing to keep pedalling at 45mph plus. To use the jargon, the course is all about power to CdA
June 15th 2013
The Hemel Hempstead event became incredibly popular, making it one of fastest ever 10s. A few days before the event and the cut off time is down to a very short 21.
June 16th 2012 Hemel Hempstead CC
It was a very windy day with gusts of up to 35mph. The weather put off a few riders starting. When you are riding it doesn’t feel as bad as it looks. Though at times there was quite strong crosswinds so you had to be careful.
I chose just to ride a Zipp 404 deep section rather than full discwheel. But, many riders had a disc and didn’t seem to suffer.
The first two miles were tough because of all the bumps, The dog bone turn was a little difficult, but I didn’t get held up by traffic. The long downhill was kind of tough because of the cross wind. I wasn’t quite sure where the finish was, so when I saw it in distance, I looked at my timer and it was 19.48. I started sprinting and thought I’d got a 19.59. But, back at the HQ it was rounded up to 20.00.
It was still a lifetime pb, and a 30mph ride, which is always nice. Though I still feel slower than last year.
Nic Hutchings, GS Grupetto did an 18.49. There were quite a few other 19s and some happy faces with pbs.
I’m not enamoured of downhill courses, but I will definitely ride again as it is so close to Oxford. Certainly better than the long drive up to the V718 near Hull.
However, despite windy condition, and quick time. I felt I wasn’t overly pleased, I felt I’d ridden within myself, perhaps due to conditions, and somehow lacking in motivation.
Anyway good event and promotion by Hemel Hempstead.
June – 20.19. Event winner Rob Pears 19.19. see: report
History of my 10 Mile PB
- 2004 – 24.11 (H10/17)
- 2005 – 21.11 (H10/8)
- 2008 – 20.19 (P613)
- 2010 – 20.09 (U47)
- 2011 – 20.07 (F20/10)
- 2012 – 20.00 (F11/10)
- 2012 – 19.07 (V718) – I’m afraid I went 53 seconds quicker on the famous Yorkshire V718 course.