Royal Oak TT New PB 7:14
I wasn't hugely motivated ahead of this.
I said I'd run a TT this morning so I was going to stick to my word. But I wasn't chomping at the bit, I was feeling nonplussed about the task at hand. Completing my warm-up I was conscious that this wasn't the right frame of mind in which to be approaching a short, sharp, 2.04K hilly TT.
I noted that the wind was blowing down Kilmainham Lane. This I prefer, it means a tailwind on St Johns. A headwind on St Johns is a death knell for this TT. The headwind on the Lane instead is, I think, less influential. I think here the hill itself is the main factor determining how fast you travel.
I hit lap as I pass the last manhole before the Royal Oak and the anticipation is over, game is on.
Into the wind for the dash to the Patriot. Cut as tight as I can onto SCR to speed down the 100m to St Johns. I'm not checking the Garmin this morning. This morning I want to try push more and feel more discomfort, not completely reckless but I definitely didn't want to find myself traveling comfortably. Along St Johns is where I lost my lead last time out so today I focus on keeping a strong stride, no relenting, no ease-off-now-speed-up-later
deals with myself.
I try the occasional surge, maybe just for 10m, it doesn't kill me. I think I'm moving faster than last time. I think I'm in contention for a PB.
Once you've commited to this TT the first real mental hurdle arrives when St Johns levels out. The legs miss the descent immediately, it's like someone has turned up the gravity dial by a notch or two. The temptation is to take a breather in anticipation of the hills ahead. This morning instead I inject a surge. I'm going to hurt on the hills anyway.
I turn wide onto Military Road and start the climb. There's a crosswind that must be hitting the far side of the road and turning down the hill as a headwind. This is tough. But I do a good job of telling myself not to wilt. Forget the hurt and concentrate on hitting the summit on the best possible racing line.
I crest the hill. There is the short sharp drop down Irwin Street. The switch from climb to sudden drop is jarring on the legs, they don't have time to start enjoying the descent, because in an instant I'm swinging right onto Kilmainham Lane for the final TT deciding climb.
I don't notice the headwind, all I notice is that my thighs are starting to burn at the base of the climb. Normally the burn kicks in near the top of this climb. This means that either I am pushing harder today than on previous attempts, or it means I've lost a lot of fitness since my last attempt. I'm quietly confident that it is the former.
I push up the hill. Tell myself not to relent, I'm nearly there. A growing optimism ensures that I keep pushing. I get to the top of the climb and the road gradually flattens. It's the last 150m or so. I don't look at the watch I just push and push. I pass the manhole, but I ensure I keep pushing until I pass the door of the Royal Oak, only then do I hit stop on the Garmin.
I check the split. A 7:20. A fist-pump. I know I have a PB. Barring any cruel Strava segment algorithms I should also have a sub 7:20. When I get home I manage a second fist-pump, I've dipped under 7:15. Brilliant. Like the first few attempts, by sprinting to the pub I can expect to drop 5 or 6 seconds off the Garmin lap time. (knowing the context is key in that last sentence
So phase 1 of the lockdown is over and touchwood it won't come back. This simple segment has kept me focused, motivated and rewarded over the last few weeks. The fact that it is a a hilly loop makes it trickier but much more interesting than a flat TT. The Garmin lap was 1.28M @ 5:42, but with GAP adjustment this becomes 5:40 pace. So I'll need to pop back to the mile TT tread and remove a sandbag.
Can I go better than 7:14? Probably. If i can knock 9 seconds off a PB like I did yesterday then I probably am in contention to knock a few seconds more off. Sub 7:00? Would need dedicated speed training I think. Don't know if it's in me.
2.63M @ 9:13 [4.23K @ 5:44]
1.28M @ 5:42 [2.07K @ 3:32]
2.85M @ 8:30 [4.58K @ 5:15]
Total 6.76M @ 8:15 [10.88K @ 5:08]