On Sunday my dad and I traveled over to Porlock via Lynton on Exmoor. My first impression was ‘It was very hilly’ as there were many climbs getting as steep as 30% where the car struggled. The area had very hilly countryside up on the moors then 2 miles away it would drop sharply to the coast.
The climb we had however was up a toll road, made for heavier vehicles or vehicles towing caravans and was a smooth 6% for the first 2 miles and the final 2 miles at 5% making it 5.5% average.
After signing on, pinning on my number and getting changed I warmed up for 20 minutes on the turbo with a progressive effort to my power meter then two 6 second high cadence bursts. Once this was completed now 8 minutes prior to the start I then removed the bike from the turbo and rode the 2 minutes to the start and toilets. I now had 4 minutes to relax before a 15 minute or so effort. I’d heard the top section, the last 8 minutes or so was a really strong headwind, and decided to just ride at the same wattage all of the way up even though the last section wasn’t as steep, but if you overcook the first 8 mins you could end up losing a lot of time into a 20mph headwind going onto fairly exposed moorland coming slightly more off the coast.
I knew what I could hold for 15 minutes so I went for that exact power. The first 6 to 7 minutes felt fine and I’d passed my 2 minute man 5 minutes in feeling ok, the buzz of the first part was high so I held back from pushing too hard in the pouring rain. Come the damp hairpins in the tree covered first half I took the first one at full speed, not knowing the course on the second I nearly crashed having over 120 psi in my tires, as, well…you shouldn’t need any grip up a gradual hill with little corners, turns out I did but taking that one at full speed and only scrubbing off a little speed I nearly slid my way around the final bend you could say. Come 10 minutes In and now out into the more exposed section after crossing the cattle grid the effort was hurting a lot but I knew I only had ‘5’ minutes to go and had just passed my minute man on a very nice hill climb bike under 5kgs (my 7kg TCR was ‘heavy’ to a lot of these people riding the event’). 14 minutes now and I wasn’t sure on how far the finish was, I was unsure if I was going to crack or not, the legs felt so dead and the wind was slowly getting more brutal, but I was still holding the watts. The next corner on the inside it said 1/4 of a mile to go, which equated to about a minute in the heavy headwind, the legs now had nothing but I kept pushing the power and was onto a PB. 15 minutes and 38 seconds in I crossed the line…the extra 38 seconds at the 15 minute power had killed me as for that old PB I of course had ridden just as hard, but I managed the extra little bit as I must of gotten slightly stronger. To me that was super pleasing to have ridden like I did to the power I had. It truly meant I’d ridden a consistent season, for results and for physical performance just slowly getting better month after month.
My 15:38 wasn’t good enough however, Dan Evans, a winner of the National Hill climb champs had posted 15:11, then on from that Ed Laverack of JLT condor had put a 15:01! Both amazing rides from both of them to take 1st and 2nd whilst I took 3rd overall. Who knows hey…if I could have a bike 2kgs lighter what time I could of had…But to have been as fast as I was with no changes to my normal road bike I feel getting my time was pleasing for an 18 year old. My power was nicer however!
Now I’m looking onto 2017, I will be taking 3 weeks easy, 1 week fully off and the odd shortish ride here and there in the other 2 weeks before I start my winter training for some much longer races than I have raced in 2016. Thanks to everyone that has made the year a great one, and to those that have made it possible. There are so many names to mention I feel I may forget somebody if I attempt to say a thank you (but those people know who they are). Please be sure to check out my sponsors page as well.
Over the winter I will still post my blog where I’ll keep you all updated monthly with my training and information on what I’ll be doing in 2017. Thanks for the support, the views are well into the thousands and I’m pleased many enjoy my blog.