Monday 12 June 2023
Year milestone number one. The Caterham Round Table Waller Lane hill climb. Last year it confirmed I was back to fitness and apart from just getting over a cold, full health and strength.
I arrived just as the course setup was finished so signed on as rider one. It meant I had almost an hour until the start. Rather than wait as I had done in the past I rode a shallower hill a couple of times to loosen the legs. I've learnt from the TT's that this helps. I also wanted to see how I felt after a big ride the day before.
I was eager to see if my new bike would improve my time.
I returned from the circuits just in time, and after ensuring I was in the gear I thought I'd need, they counted me down and I was away.
Too low a gear meant I peddeled furiously before changing up. Not a good start. I settled in and tried to ensure I was in the right gear for each section of climb.
I heard the next person being counted down and it seemed I hadn't gone very far by then. Each person starts a minute apart and I expected to have been closer to the end by the time rider two was sent on his way. I tried to focus on the task at hand and giving it everything I had.
I crossed the finish line and looked to see when the next rider would appear. I now can't remember who it was, but it did seem to have been too soon. How much time had I lost?
I got the answer later in the day.
I had gone much faster with a time of 02:16. An improvement of 22 seconds. Each year I'd be around 10 seconds quicker, so I was very pleased.
What could have made me quicker? A lighter bike, better preparation, maybe I'm fitter and stronger than ever.
What could I have done differently? Rode the hill beforehand on my new bike; I would have started in a higher gear, had a less taxing ride the day before.
Maybe hill climbs and not TT's are what I'm built for? The next TT will be in a few weeks after my cycling adventure. The hill climb season doesn't start until Seprember so I have a while to think about it.