Job done – Mostly

Hi folks, it’s time for that racing update you’ve all been dying to hear (in my dreams). With the exception of a couple of Hill Climbs the 2018 racing season is now over and done with. I’m following the usual plan of continuing to train throughout September and then taking October off so as to focus on Uni work and anything else that might happen to come along.

I’m sorry to report that the final TT of the season was a complete and utter disaster. I knew from the start that the sub-20 minute time just wasn’t going to happen. My legs were utterly spent, I’ve put this down to an unusually intense last two and a half months. Trying to make up for starting my season so late by competing twice a week had worked well up until this point but sadly the accumulated fatigue caught up with me that day.

I still had some hope of a good showing during the first five miles, my confidence boosted primarily due to that fact that most of it was downhill with a nice tailwind for good measure. Sadly once I’d negotiated the mid way turn my worst fears were realised. I did my level best to get something out of my tired legs but to no avail, truth be told it felt as if I was riding backwards.

In a way I’m glad of what happened next because it gives me the perfect excuse for my exceptionally slow time. Typically, on the one occasion I didn’t look closely at the course before the event I managed to take a wrong turning. Only when a set of roadworks I didn’t recognise appeared in the distance did I realise it, a full mile after the error had been made. At that point there was nothing more to be done but turn around and hope that I could at least find my way back to HQ.

It was tempting to find another event to enter but ultimately I decided to end my season then and there. My form hasn’t been great over these last couple of weeks and my motivation certainly isn’t what it was. It’s fair to say that whilst it hasn’t been the season I was hoping for a year ago it’s been better than I could have realistically expected after such a difficult winter.

I’ll forever remember 2018 as the year in which I realised that my forte within the world of Cycling is most definitely Time Trialling. With a best 10 mile time of 20:01, a 25 mile PB of 54:54 set in apocalyptic weather and a club-record of 10:57 on the local 5 mile course I can look back on the summer with a sense of satisfaction. Hopefully the upcoming off-season won’t be as turbulent as the last one and I’ll be-able to set myself up to better those times next year. Of course a few upgrades to my TT bike may also be in order for the sake of some precious seconds.

I’ll cheerfully admit to being nervous heading into the off-season. Having built up to a good level of fitness again I’d hate to lose it in the course of another winter defined by setbacks and difficult circumstances. I’m going to do something different this time round and use these next few months to focus primarily on Mountain Biking. That particular discipline can be enjoyed (or at least tolerated) in all weathers and the challenge of improving on the trails should provide a good substitute for racing in terms of motivation.

If all goes to plan project gravel will finally come to an end soon – more of that in a future post. With a 1x drive train, disc brakes and enough clearance to fit full length mudguards that bike will be far more suitable for winter training than my trusty Cannondale. Hopefully the poorly maintained Devon lanes will be a bit more bearable, which is to say I’ll manage to motivate myself to get out and ride on them a bit more often this time round.

In short it’s been a good season and I’m hopeful of more to come. I’d like to think that 2019 may be the year when I manage to convert top 10’s and the occasional podium into a few wins. Better still I feel I can finally justify the eventual purchase of a disc wheel, even if fail to attain any PB’s I’ll be doing so in style (don’t laugh too hard).

Thanks for reading.

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