Thursday, 24 April 2008

Cornwall Tor 21st April 2008 & lessons learned

Holmes & Worboys entered this the first sportif of 2008 and achieved the mid-table mediocrity they had always dreamt of. The race is a gruelling 100 miles where the first 40 miles is comparatively flat but into a headwind blowing across bodmin moor and then as you take the coast road back from Bude the route takes the form of a saw edge blade as you climb up and down gradients of 10-28% (yes 28%) and overall for the course you do as much climbing (3,250m) as in the real etape and is therefore a great judge of progress to that target. It fortunately did not rain which not only improved our mood but also meant that the steep downhills were not quite as treacherous as they could have been. As with all practices we said the time was not important until we started racing and then pushed it pretty hard. Out of 171 finishers Worboys came 80th in 7:58 and Holmes came 89th in 8:06 which was well ahead of the 09:30 broom wagon time we had set as our target.
As ever we learned a few things from our ride being:
  • The full english breakfast was not helpful and I felt like chucking up greasy bacon for the first hour Eat plenty of figs in the run-up so you lose your bowel weight before the race not during rather than after it I carried over 1lb of food I never eat or felt like eating. The dried fruit was great and the food stations provided the rest.
  • Tim had a water bottle too small for the cage and promptly lost it on a bump on a hill I tried to drink from the bottle on a hill and dropped it and as my back wheel went over it I slid came out of my pedals and ended up face down on the pavement with bottle rolling back down the hill. Although going slowly at the time so not hurt it’s a real pain retrieving the bottle and restarting on a steep gradient so from then was more careful and may get a better cage for the etape.
  • The food bag on the front is great for eating on the go rather than trying to delve into your back pocket whilst climbing.

Our pace is generally way ahead of broom wagon pace and so this should not be an issue except

  • (1) We didn't get punctures and its worth losing speed with heavier more robust tyres than risking a puncture
  • (2) We both suffered bouts of cramp on the ascents and I'm not sure why but think we need to do more training on long repeat climbs of 10%+
  • (3) The first drink station is best avoided by having enough fluid with you.

It was possible to get lost as I found and briefly ended up in a caravan park It was only hot for a while but that was wilting and needed to be able to take off / add on layers Even though I thought I was drinking enough I wasn't as I was dehydrated at the end and some 4lbs lighter which has largely gone back on now I have hydrated.

The chart of finishing times is attached. 170 riders might not be representative of the 8,000 doing the etape but if it is it’s a good sign.

A great circular course and we should do it again some time.

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