With light cloud and more than 20 degrees at 10am, for those riding National 25 mile Championships, we seemed to be benefiting from yet more hot and humid racing conditions, quite unusual for the UK!
I made good use of another ice vest courtesy of Jamie Pringle and then gulped down a bottle of drink on the way to the start. Unfortunately my 2 minute girl didn’t sign on, so it was a long wait to my start.
Opting for a front tri-spoke was a bit of a schoolgirl error as I was buffeted about by several high sided vehicles inside the first 5 miles. This was the busiest section of the course in both directions and unfortunately my luck was out as I came to a virtual standstill at the second roundabout just 2 miles or so in.
With a definite breeze from the south west there seemed a chance we’d feel the benefit on the return, but this never materialised and it was a drag strip from start to finish. The rises were a welcome sight but with no real gradient it felt like the extra effort to get up was never rewarded going down.
Frustratingly the wind and vehicles affected my front wheel more than I’d have hoped for so the faster sections were a bit hairy and I found myself backing off.
Despite the issues in the early part of the ride I’d only lost about 5 seconds to Julia Shaw in the first 5 miles, but this quickly extended to 40-45 seconds at the halfway mark and then at the turn it was clear she would have time to catch me.
I pushed on throughout, averaging just a fraction over 300 watts and trying as hard as I could to limit the margin of defeat to as close to two minutes as possible. It was 2minutes 15seconds as Julia recorded a phenomenal 54 minutes 30, to my 56.46 a truly outstanding ride again.
My result also showed improvements. A power average as high as I’ve ever managed, but at 64kg, I’m the lightest I’ve been in cycling. My time was also another improvement on my PB and so everything is heading in the right direction. The official splits were slightly inaccurate, but power file download showed a faster second half [28m48s compared to 27m58s], so despite not feeling the benefit, there must have been something of a tail wind, as the power was down to 291watts average coming home, compared to a touch over 309watts for the first half.
With three weeks to go until National Road Race Champs, my attentions now turn to the Deloitte Ride Across Britain which starts in John O Groats next Saturday 12th June and finishes in Land’s End on Sunday 20th June. To sponsor me please visit www.paralympics.org.uk and for additional event info click on www.rideacrossbritain.com.
Updates along the route to follow!
For more of Sarah Storey, visit www.onthedrops.com