Vicky Jowett describes her National 50 TT race
Hi all, whilst the more intrepid Albas were taking on C2C and the White Rose Classic this weekend, I was taking on a challenge of a different kind in the National 50 mile time trial. A race report is below!
Race report: National 50
18 months or so ago, I discovered time trialling as a by product of triathlon training. A race against the clock, it is basically going all out over a set distance, with the mental battle to withstand the pain and suffering being arguably as important a skill as physical fitness. It has been a constant learning curve since then, and a bumpy road for many reasons – but after having a reasonably solid winter of training for once, and some signs of progress in early season TTs, I decided to enter the National 50 TT and see how I fared against the best time triallists in the country...
Sunday morning, 4.20am alarm clock. WHAT! Due to time restrictions on events being held on dual carriageways, it is common for time trials, especially longer ones, to start at an ungodly hour. The National 50 was unfortunately no exception..!! I lay in bed drinking strong coffee after strong coffee and tried to quieten the voice telling me to just stay in bed and go out for a nice painfree cafe ride later on! A few hours later and I was near Yarm, ready to hurl myself up and down the A19 for 50 miles, in the pursuit of ‘fun!’
My usual haphazard approach to racing (and life in general!) continued as I was the last female to arrive and sign on and had to rush to get ready. My ‘warm up,’ as always, simply consisted of a 3 mile ride to the start and having a chat with the marshals – I tried to ignore all the very serious looking people doing proper warm ups on turbo trainers! Before I knew it ‘3..2...1’ and I was off.
The course was the T502/3 and consisted of four 12.5 mile laps – so out and back twice. For someone who is marred with navigational ineptitude, this was a relief – very few opportunities to go in the wrong direction! I set off hard, and by the end of the first lap had overtaken a few people which was a good confidence booster. However, my legs felt like lead by mile 15 and I knew this was going to be a full on sufferfest – the ‘joy’ of TTing is that there is nowhere to hide and no wheels to sit on – the only thing that will slow you down is yourself. If you start off hard then you just have to commit and see it through. The miles ticked by, and I settled into a rhythm – constantly teetering on the edge of riding at threshold or thereabouts, and completely blowing up! Not helped by the constant crosswind or the odd undulation here and there.
At the halfway point I was overtaken by Kate Allen, ex triathlete and TT’s rising star – that girl is fast! She was the eventual winner in 1.52.11. I went through the halfway point in 1.01 and started to think that maybe, just maybe, sub two hours was possible. This wasn’t to be today, but hopefully it isn’t too far off. The last ten miles were like hell on earth – lots of people try different strategies to cope with racing pain – singing songs in their head, counting etc – my mantra for these ten miles was ‘if you don’t make yourself sick you’re not riding hard enough.’ That repeated over and over again was enough to get me to the finish line in 2.03.03, swiftly followed by the fulfilment of my mantra (...whoever said time trialling isn’t glamorous?!)
Getting back to HQ I discovered I had come 12th overall which I was really happy with. Suddenly all the pain seemed worthwhile.
If this report isn’t enough to put you off, Alba has a great and very active TT community, with a regular Thursday night league, the CorsaRosa road bike series, and various members competing in open events of all distances. Get involved for skinsuits, pointy helmets, and quality banter in laybys and carparks!