Posted by: audaxing | September 2, 2013

Short Distance Cycling Made Difficult


Usually this blog is about long distance cycling made easy. However, there are other ways of doing it. Yesterday I entered a 25 mile time trial on a hilly course.

I entered this event last year also. Last year I came dead last. This year I got to the start, pinned my number on and actually managed to warm up a bit before the start. Maybe not enough but I had 10 minutes of riding including pounding up a hill on the A road, which is exactly what the course consists of- up and down on the A38

My disappointing performance last year was the result of exactly 1 weekend of training after a last minute impulse entry to this event, run by the local club I belong to. This time I resolved to take the following measures in order to improve my performance

  1. Train from the start of the year
  2. Loose weight to be sub 80Kg for the event
  3. Improve my position on the bike to be more aerodynamic

So how did my prep go? I did train from the early weeks of the year. This fed through into early long distance events I did. Although being faster isn’t everything for those long distances, every little helps. My weight loss program went ok until I went on holiday in France in July and never recovered. I didn’t get around to attempting to improve my position until much too late. I did drop the handlebars lower and this did seem to be faster. But it was unfortunately very uncomfortable at the saddle so I raised them again. I had not left enough time for the necessary experimentation.

As for equipment, my bike was the same as last year

Roubaix with tri bars

The Brooks saddle on the Roubaix is replaced with an SLR flow with minimal padding and a slot. There are tribars and no bar bag. The handmade wheels are replaced by “race” wheels with the fastest tyres I could find in my garage – 25mm Michelin Pro Race. The mudguards and lights are removed, except the backup light- these types of light are now “recommended” on time trials in the UK

My time to start approached. I was wearing my PBP jersey and the guy holding the bike, who is French, makes chatty remarks about it. Then I’m off trying to get my speed up to 50kph.

As I got to the 5 mile in mark I felt that things were going a bit better. Noone had passed me! On the first event my minute man had sailed by very briskly, seemingly followed by the remainder of the field. Then just after the 5 mile mark, my minute man did appear and pass me on a climb. However I put in an effort and he didn’t vanish up the road immediately, not until after the next big ascent. Another rider went by at the turn around, then another. I wasn’t too discouraged. I was feeling ok and seemed to be going alright. I had forgotten to press the start button on my stop watch on the bike computer so I had no numbers to back this up but this was my impression.

This impression was reinforced as I seemed to be catching a rider in the distance. As he got nearer I realised that this was my minute man. I had started as number 24 and this guy was number 23.
Slowly on the climb I drew nearer and nearer. I was almost upon him when there was a bit of descent. He pulled away. But there was another climb and eventually I went past! Then there was a big descent. At the foot of it another rider (not the minute man) over took me at speed. I upped my velocity but it wasn’t enough to stick with him. My minute man did catch me again of course but as I sprinted for the line he was only seconds ahead of me.

When I saw the results I discovered that my minute man was the only person I’d beaten but I had done it 3 minutes faster than last time so that’s a reasonable success.


  1. 64 mins is a very respectable time well done Jamie

    • Thanks Jono!

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