The Circuit of Ingleborough Time Trial was held on a shorter course this year due to road works, but it was still another great weekend for racing. The day was dry, and what little wind there was would be behind me for the second half of the ride. Ideal for when the legs start to tire.
Over 24 (of the planned 27) miles I averaged 22.6mph finishing in 8th place. I’m getting better at judging my effort and put out a competition power PB for the year. I still reckon there’s more to give though.
Looking on a map the route looks about as simple as you can get. But take a closer look and a combination of narrow bridges, sharp corners in village centres, and potholes; paired with the odd technical corner and frequent sharp rises make for a deceptively challenging ride.
You’ll want a good warmup when riding this event. You only get a handful of seconds before the first (and longest consistent) climb of the day. The remainder of this shortened course undulates periodically. Allowing a few seconds of rest between bigger efforts, as it climbs up towards Ribblehead Viaduct.
I separated the original circuit into three parts;
- Ingleton to Settle (~10miles)
- Settle to Ribblehead (~10miles)
- Ribblehead to the finish (~7miles)
Today’s race finished somewhere in between Ribblehead and the finish. Which unfortunately for some is the fastest part of the day. Leaving us with mostly climbing!
This is a tough one to pace. And I can’t actually decide how well I managed. It’s all too tempting to panic a bit and go out up that first climb too hard. Which maybe I did? I really don’t know. Again, I rode this entirely by feel. The only things showing on my Garmin screen being a map of the route (I had never ridden it before), my cadence, and my current speed.
My legs felt it after the initial effort from the climb out of Ingleton, but I did do 350w for the first five minutes. Did this mean they were numbed for the rest of the ride? I’m not sure. I cracked on anyway. Doing my best to follow my own advice by staying on top of the gear.
I caught my minute man (#54) within the first 5/6 miles, and thanks to #53 not bothering to show up I was without a carrot to chase for a long time. There were a few fast sections to come, where I managed to again spin out my biggest gear.
Eventually I started coming across other riders. I was climbing quite well but due to how steep some of the kicks up in the road were, I occasionally found myself seriously overgeared. I’m a spinner so grinding away at 70rpm isn’t ever going to be ideal. I was bogged down not being able to produce the kind of torque needed to go fast at such a low cadence. I know if I had the option to spin an easier gear at a higher RPM I would’ve gone quicker on some sections.
The times in between steep sections I found a nice rhythm though. I think here is an area I can still improve in. I reckon I can use my (thanks to Jody at Transition rather good) aerobic system to go faster. I need to trust my lungs to take the stress off my legs and not attempt to turn a bigger to go faster. Just spin my legs more.
Here’s the maths I’ve done to explain this to myself for next time;
Say I’m in 54×16 doing 90rpm. That’s 23.8mph. However I’m more comfortable at 100rpm.
54×17 at 100rpm would be 24.8mph. One whole mph quicker! For less of a gear!
Now that makes a whole lot of sense to me. “Panic grinding” (as I call it now) is a habit I’ve developed that needs shaking quickly. It’s absolutely slowing me down. And in order to podium at these events I’m going to have to find roughly 3 minutes over these longer courses. Actually being on top of a gear at those high speeds doing 100rpm would go a long way in helping me to do that.
…As would some fancy new wheels and any number of other slippery expensive items. For now I’ll just try training a bit harder and spinning my legs a little quicker and we’ll see what happens next time.