Be Prepared (NLTTA 25 Mile time trial)
Last time trial of the season coming up, be prepared. In the run up I dutifully watched my diet, being careful not to exclude 'Warbies' giant crumpets, a month long carbohydrate loading should suffice.
The NLTTA graciously complied with members wishes by organising, as a closing event to the season, a twenty five mile time trial, thereby pleasing those who can't get enough and those still looking for a personal best. Me, I just enter to get my name on the start sheet upholding the honour of the club, after all as affiliate members of the NLTTA it is only right that Bolton clarion should participate.
Preparation, the name of the game.
Not really looking forward to an excruciating 25 miles of self flagellation, I prepared myself in the week before to thinking about training, but then only thinking. Watching the 'doctors' programmes on the beeb, there is a lot to be said for just relaxing and going through with an event in your mind. Does it work? My research indicates it does not, however I shall continue with my research.
At the very day before the event some kind person Twittered that due to road works the twenty five was now reduced to a ten mile event. I don't know who twittered but I send them a kiss, after all ten mile of self flagellation is preferable to twenty five of them. Commiserations to those looking to winning their club championship 25 and those with the final throw of the dice looking for a season end PB.
Ten or twenty five made no difference whatsoever to my start time, I would still have to be up in the dark at around five am, load up the car, check the tyres find the computer that suddenly has gone missing. As I'm still wearing the heart rate strap from the day before I won't forget that.
Go to bed, set the alarm for 5am, toss and turn wondering if I'll oversleep, not much chance of that, so I thought. Twice I looked at my watch, good god it's only 3.20. second time, bloody hell it's six o'clock, I late. Stupid radio controlled alarm clock, or is it just stupid me.
A rush down stairs, a dash back up again for race attire, vest, socks, jersey, shorts. My prepared porridge from the night before in the microwave would have to wait, instead I grabbed a couple of gels from the fridge, they have been in and out of the fridge that often I'm afraid to look at the sell by date.
The grove is deathly silent and dark as I disturb the peace loading up the car, also my movement is bringing on and off the security light with each visit to the car. I reluctantly leave my warm up turbo trainer, I may not even have time to set it up, anyway I'll probably be in a lather when I get there.
Satisfied all is ready to go it's in the car and head for the motorway, sighing with relief that at last I am underway.
Five miles up the motorway heading for Garstang and it dawns on me I have left home without my wallet, shit, no bus pass if the car breaks down, such is my confidence in my latest banger, no identification, what if I arrive at the hospital as an unknown DOA!
Suppressing my fears I relax, que sera sera, onward and upward.
I arrive at the event HQ thankful now for the early start, the bogs are not too busy, morning ablutions had been on hold long enough. The newly furnished toilet facilities at Kirkland hall are impressive though the bog compartment is quite tiny, the guy inside as I waited had quite a struggle using it as a wardrobe for changing.
Signed on, number pinned on, I along with fellow clarion lads, Andy Horner, Dave Owen, William Cocker are ready to make our way to the start.
As part of my preparation I am mindful of weather for the event so I peruse the local forecast day by day leading to the final off time. White clouds with a bit of sun peaking out were a constant each time I looked. The dark grey skies above were not what the doctor ordered.
I made my a couple of miles or so to the start, the bit of drizzle I felt as I threw my leg over the bike turned to a deluge by the time I was on station. It was with great relief that the start line was adjacent to a large shop canopy, already crowded with cyclists, timekeepers and volunteer pushers off.
One by one the eleven keen competitors were pushed off at the regular one minute intervals, all eleven heading into the heavy downpour. Fortune favours the brave, at my level of fitness I can only be described as brave, or if you want to be unkind, mad!
The ten miles were somewhat of an anticlimax, I rode at my usual pace, surprised only at being passed by four competitors instead of the usual cavalcade, surprised also not to be passed by Andy Horner, he had the excuse that he started eight minutes after me.
I shouted my number, as required, at the time keeper on the finish line, I shouted loud, very loud a good two seconds before I finished hoping the shock would cause an hovering thumb to jab as I shouted.
As I slowed pain shot through my right leg, at the same time William rode up beside me, 'I couldn't quite catch you' he said pleasing me no end. I just had to carry on riding in an easy gear to try and ease the troublesome right leg that had been no trouble at all during the ride. A couple of miles up and down the A6 pedalling easily seemed to do the trick so back at the car I could swing a leg over to dismount, unlike last year when I had to let the bike drop to the floor, unable to lift a leg.
So what was my reward for my pains, well for a start I was inside my veterans standard time, not by a lot, but inside nonetheless, point 00000008 mph off twenty miles per hour. At 79 next month I am happy at that.
I must comment on a guy I spotted inside the hall. He wasn't a cyclist as such, obviously hadn't been in the event, wearing a once bright green dayglow jacket that had not seen a washing machine in the last twenty years. With an affable smile on his face he helped himself to the snacks available to the competitors, a huge plateful of sandwiches and cakes and proceeded outside with them. A minute later he was back stuffing biscuits and cakes into the paper serviettes then exiting with his haul. My curiosity aroused I ventured out to see him departing on a ladies shopping bike with shopping bag swinging from the bars.