Danny Shackleton reports on a great ride in the Team Swift 12 Hour Time Trial – Sunday 30th July 2017
Sometime towards the end of 2016, having completed one 10 mile time trial and a few hill climbs, I decided that 2017 would be the year that I started time trialling again. Not content with competing in the odd SPOCO event and over the usual distances of 10 and 25 miles, possibly with the odd 50 thrown in, I decided that I’d have a crack at the BBAR (British Best All Rounder) competition.
The BBAR competition ranks riders by the average of their average speeds in individual time trials over 50 miles, 100 miles and 12 hours. Certificates are awarded to riders with an average speed of 22 mph or faster. It was introduced in 1930 when massed racing was still banned and time trialling was the only form of cycling competition on public roads.
Having been an avid reader of the comic (Cycling Weekly) in the 1980’s, I recalled the feats of Cammish, Longland, et al and their achievements in the BBAR long before the advent of tri-bars, disk wheels, pointy hats, power meters, etc…
Having already got the 50 and 100 mile time trials under my belt, the rest of my season has really been focused on the 12 hour event. With ABC Centreville promoting the Goose Eye Grimpeur sportive on the 20th August and having volunteered to help out, I was unable to ride the local (Cheshire) 12 hour event on the same day. The next nearest 12 hour was the Team Swift event on 30th July in Yorkshire.
The 06:10am start time necessitated an overnight stay in Pocklington the night before (otherwise it would have been a 03:00am alarm call). I was fortunate that my mate, Jo Yates, had volunteered to go with me to help out with feeding, etc… (more importantly – I had someone to stop me drinking too many pints of ale the night before).
Arriving at the HQ in the morning drizzle, we were hoping that the weather would improve over what had been predicted (during the week before, rain and thunderstorms had been forecast).
The course for the Team Swift event is flat but sporting, consisting mainly of single carriageway country lanes to the South of Pocklington in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Competitors do 5 laps of a 40.591 mile circuit followed by as many laps of the 14.247 mile finishing circuit as possible within the 12 hour period. It’s a good one for feeding as riders pass the HQ twice every lap (at 5 miles and at 40 miles) although it could also make climbing off a bit easier too! The start, quite handily, is directly outside the HQ and I didn’t think that a substantial warm up would be necessary!
Having never ridden a 12 hour time trial before, pacing was a concern, especially as I have a tendency to start quickly. After much research on time trialling forums, I settled on a pacing strategy using 25 mile intervals that would hopefully see me achieve around 260 miles, based on my previous performance at 100 miles on a similar sporting course.
For the first couple of hours or so, the road was wet but the weather improved as the day went on. There was the odd isolated shower through the afternoon but nothing too severe. However, the flat course did result in it being fairly windy, especially noticeable when facing the headwind along Sutton Lane, although the course is that twisty, you are not exposed to a headwind for too long.
I quickly got into my stride and managed to do the first three 25 miles in 1:06, 1:07 and 1:08 respectively, slightly down on schedule. The hardest bit of the ride both from a physical and mental perspective was hours 4 through to 6, this was where time was still counting up and the pain of the effort was starting to kick in. There were times where I wanted to climb off – it was helpful having support at the roadside, not only from Jo but from the marshals at the turns and from the relatives and friends of the other competitors. Just after midday, Jon Taylor turned up to lend his support and with 5 hours to go, I realised that I could finish. Reaching the finishing circuit with around 2½ hours left, I even managed to up the pace slightly, knowing that I was close to the end.
The winner, with a distance of 280.42 miles was Blaine Metcalf of the promoting club. My 251.92 miles was good enough for 11th place overall (an average speed of 20.99 mph).
Riding a 12 hour time trial is a completely different experience to other [shorter] time trials that I have ridden. Maintaining the aero position on the time trial bike more or less continuously for 12 hours resulted in aches and pains in my neck and shoulders, although the further into the event I got, the pain became more manageable.
Nutrition is also something that I’ve not had to consider in shorter time trials (other than 100’s) – the sum total on the day was 3 bananas, 4 energy bars, 3 energy gels, a brioche, 2 cans of coke, 4 bottles of water, 1 bottle of carbohydrate drink, 5 bottles of electrolyte drink and 1 bottle of isotonic drink. The coke was something I was craving and as luck would have it, Jo and Jon had contrived to get some for me before I’d even asked for it – imagine my delight when I asked for a can of coke and one was miraculously produced as if by magic!
A big thank you to Jo and Jon for providing much needed support, I may have packed if I’d been on my own.
Thanks also to Team Swift who organised the event along with all the volunteers who marshalled, pushed-off, kept time, provided refreshments afterwards and shouted encouragement to all the riders throughout the day – it’s only a 12 hour event for the riders but it’s an even longer day for the volunteers.
Will I do another 12 hour? Probably, but not this year!
Photo credits: Kimroy Photography and Jo Yates
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