I hear it may be for the last time, but the Sunday before Christmas is the traditional space in the calendar for Farnborough & Camberley’s Christmas Open 10. The lack of racing from October means the event often attracts a strong field. This year I had also done my best to ‘promote’ it with a bit of forum banter and some blatant stirring. It seemed to help as they got 80 riders including three time BBAR winner, Adam Topham plus up and coming 18 minute man Rob Sharland. J entered but cried off as his immune system succumbed to Adam's psychological war fare.
The pre race attitudes varied markedly. At least half a dozen riders were dressed as Father/Mother Christmas or Elfs and were going all out for the fancy dress prize. Many were doing their best to present a nonchalant 'it's just a bit of fun’ facade. Some got their excuses/sand bagging in early - they’d been out all week at Christmas parties; they were in a heavy training block; they’d only just started training again following an end of season break; they'd put on muscle bulk doing paddle boarding… Blah blah blah, I was taking it fcking seriously. I've been cranking out 10 to 11 hours a week, and have pushed my CTL up almost 20 points, since the end of the Summer. I’ve upgraded the trusty P3 to a Trinity Advanced (bike of choice for a certain Matt Bottrill). I sacrificed warmth and comfort and went without gloves or a base layer. I sacrificed stability and handling and opted for the 80mm front wheel. I shaved my legs and attached a trip. I had a Nopinz pocket and 200mg of caffeine. No excuses... Well apart from being a touch chubby and only having done an hour on the new bike and...
So it's pretty tough to spice up a TT race report. Fundamentally, I rode in a straight line for 5 miles, turned and rode 5 miles back. I passed a few people and didn't get passed. Position on the Trinity felt pretty comfortable but the above threshold effort was a bit of a shock after two months of tempo. I ended up with 21:37 off a normalised power of 321w. That’s 63s and 46w improvement on last year and a marginal all time power pb (I did 317w at the National 10 but that was only for 19 minutes). I'm confident I will get to 340 for a 10 come August and that, along with some aero tweaks, should be enough to give Magic a dusting.
Predictably, I've spent a good few hours crunching the numbers and analysing Strava / weather data. Last year the air pressure was 1008HPa and the wind was 26km/hr. Yesterday it was a treacley 1028HPa and almost 32km/hr. So, with my beer mat calculations, I think that 63s improvement was actually closer to 90s. Progress perhaps but if ever a reality check were needed it was provided at the HQ afterwards. I was eating cake, chatting to Bryce and Xav and feeling content that my mid 21 seemed to be holding up pretty well. Then I look across and see the guy write Tops' time up. 19:58... 19:58?! Cue gasps and murmuring all round. Are you fcking shitting me? In December? In this wind??! I turned to Clarry, ‘come on let’s get out of here'... Lots to do.