Monday, May 17

M3 Cyclo-Sportive + there and back again.

Everyone loves a trier, but hates a failure. However, every one loves the people who come along to partake, but when they start acting like idiots most people tend to get cranky.In a sportive everyone is out to have a bit of fun, go as fast as they want to go, and work as a group to get where they want to go. However the M3 cycle was something a bit different. Lots of people along for the 100km option, lots of bling bikes and wheels, lots of dark shades with taut faces and sunken eyes under them.....then you notice the hairy legs, the black see through shorts, the and the Fred mark of glory, the right leg chain ring imprint.

Sure it takes all sorts, but why do i always attract them.

The M3 cycle was going to be a fast day from the start. Closed roads, on a motorway, on a route that didn't have a huge amount of height gain in it (404m of climbing over 110km). Riding on a motorway was never going to be the most amazing of sight seeing tours. With that in mind i had planned to TT the race from start to finish at IM pace wattage, throw in a few efforts where they were demanded, and generally just push. I had no plans to work in a group bigger than 4 riders, and was going to go with that plan.

Come race day things change. 10km in and i'd left most of the 700 or so riders behind, had picked up a very strong female triathlete and we were working well together, could see a large group of maybe 60 riders a few mins ahead and figured they'd splinter and i could work my way up to them over time. Riding a TT bike in a sportive is always going to be cheating on the flats, what i didn't realise is that it would attract idiots like flys to a dog turd.

Flying along for the first 20km alternating turns between the two of us, sitting at 260W into the wind - 240W out of the wind, alternating efforts ment that we could keep the pace high and steady. About 25km in Mike and Waggers (TT bikes also) popped up....and apparently brought a huge fred-fest with them. Then it started getting hairy. Working with Karen we were taking equal turns on the front, ride/recover, ride/recover. Always peeling to the right, staying away from cateyes, and riding in the best place to avoid the cross winds. However, when 20 or so people try to do this (most of whom never even ride in groups) it gets messy. Peeling left and right, undertaking, jumping up the group leaving gaps, dropping wheels, grabbing brakes, just riding like idiots. To clinch it all in a heavy crosswind from the right sticking the group into the gutter on the left hand side so no one has shelter.


After sitting in the gutter for a few min's recovering at the tail of the group i'd had enough. Rode away from the group on the right, swung back onto the front and just rode hard for 5min's, 350W on the flat getting low and narrow, taking 3 riders who could ride with me. I have no problem riding in a group on a TT bike, however this was getting sketchy as people were getting tired into the headwind and making stupid mistakes. I'd dropped Mike but was pretty confident he'd get back to us as he was riding very well.

The hill to the turn at 55km, dropped another rider, and Karen (momentary) as we crested the hill. Turned and was rewarded with a tail wind. 260W changed to 230W and yet still getting a 7kph speed increase. Time to eat, drink, and roll it home. Karen picked back on and we worked back to a group having a nice chat most of the way there. Soon after Mike popped on to say hi and work with a good group of 6 roadies from Navan most of the way back. Unfortunately we picked up two wheel suckers from that group at the start and i decided i wasnt going to work for them.

At about 90km in I pulled off, answered the call of nature IM style, and then realised i was a little confused. Shit, that is the sign for me, ate everything in my pockets and bento box (2 Torq gels, one bar, one ZipVit gel) threw in all my fluids and started to pray it'd get there first. I've experienced that feeling badly a few times to many to want to happen again (last bad time at cross training over the winter, and then France after a 187km in the mountains which resulted in crying). About 2km later it'd cleared up, but that 2km dragged, the 'hill' i was on turned out to be only 1.5%, but felt like 15%.

A much needed water-bottle at the last station (only bottle/food i took on) polished up the water situation and then i was good to go. Plan for the last 10km had alwasy been to gun it, so i did. Holding just under 250W with a tail wind. Passed the group i'd dropped out of/been dropped from, and just rode on past. Food and fluid at the end, filled up, and rode home with Sully.

  • 3hr 12mins of riding for 110km at 250W NP
  • 262W NP out into headwind[31kph avg], 231W NP return [37kph avg]
  • 150bpm avg heart rate. Reckon i could have held that for 180km.
  • So the whole total for the day was 178km, 241W NP (normalised power) for 5hr 46mins
  • Avg hr was 155bpm.
Overall a fun day out bar the muppets. Nice to ride on closed roads at high ish speeds. Very happy with the ride, felt strong, HR was low for the wattage i was putting out, could have done it for longer, but not sure how i'd have lasted into that headwind on my own if I'm honest. There are some things that need to be done:
  • Bars need to be moved up one spacer on the front.
  • Stem needs to be shortened
  • I need to find out what was whistling in the wind!
Nice day out, good to do as it was a one off.

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