Last year’s National 100-Mile Time Trial Champion Richard Prebble will return to defend his title when the 2008 event is staged at Llandovery in Wales on Sunday – but he has had a tough year of preparations.
The 40-year-old GS Strada rider from Hampshire was diagnosed with diabetes shortly after Christmas, and has spent many months learning how to cope with the condition and adjust his training accordingly. He said: “I started losing a pound or two in weight each day for ten days, and I had a thirst I just couldn’t quench,” he explained. “Then my vision went blurred, and I knew something wasn’t right.
“It turns out I had a stomach bug just before Christmas, and the doctors think the virus attacked my pancreas and killed off the insulin-producing cells, which started the diabetes off.”
Prebble now has four insulin injections a day, and checks his blood sugar levels up to seven times.
But how has it affected his performance?
“In the National 50 I was third last year which I was reasonably pleased with, but this year although I was fifth I was only 18 seconds away from second spot. It was really close between the top half dozen or so, so I’m not too disappointed with not getting a medal because the performance was there.
“I’m aiming to win the 100, and I think that’s realistic. Hutchinson is miles ahead of anybody else, but he isn’t riding so it’s really open. If I don’t win it again I will be disappointed because there’s no reason why I can’t.
“I’m learning more all the time about the diabetes and how to control things, and I seem to have it under control. But I haven’t done any 100s so far this year so I’ll just have to see,” he said.
With Hutchinson out of the frame, the 100 looks set to be the most open title race of 2008, with Prebble off as scratch man, while also off on “10” marks are Ben Instone (Scientific Coaching), reigning British Best All-Rounder Kevin Dawson (Sportscover), Pedalsport’s Andy Jackson, Paul Holdsworth of the Hounslow and District Wheelers, and Wrekinsport CC’s Andy Bason, who sensationally broke Dave Lloyd’s 26-year-old record for the Anfield 100 last month.
In the women’s event, reigning champion Julia Shaw does not defend, but second-placed Ruth Eyles (Beacon Roads CC) should provide a benchmark for others to chase. Fourth last year, Edinburgh Road Club’s Jessica Wilson-Young returns, while Lynne Taylor (Walsall Roads CC) and Charlotte Wadsworth (Green Room Group.com) will all be challenging for podium finishes.
First rider off is at 7.06am, with Prebble due on the road at 9am. While headquarters is Llandovery Rugby Club, the start is on the A40 trunk road about 1.5 miles west of the town centre. The finish line is just before the river bridge at Llandovery.
* For those who don’t fancy the trip to Wales, there is another 100-mile event at Prees in Shropshire, while there is a 50-mile event at Aldermaston in Berkshire on Sunday, promoted by West LondonCA and starting at 7am. In Yorkshire the county points series continues with a 50-mile event on the V255 course at Boroughbridge.