I did this Time trial 2 years ago when preparing for Ironman Wales in torrential rain on the same course (3 laps on the dual carriageway between Abergavenny and Monmouth) Blog post about it here. This year I wanted to do a long Time trial before Ironman Wales as I believe it helped me mentally and physically to prepare. One hundred miles on your own on a dual carriageway can be soul destroying, and the Ironman course is covered in spectators cheering so if you can TT for 100 miles pretty much on your own then Ironman is a piece of cake! (sort of)
I booked in to a hotel for the night before and went in to Abergavenny to stash some bottles in a lay-by, and get food supplies for the morning and afterwards. The weather forecast was to be dry for the next day but driving back to the hotel was pretty terrifying with flash floods all over the road.
In the morning I ate my porridge and bircher muesli, had a cup of tea then drove over to HQ. It was good to see a Pembrokeshire crowd up there and had a chat with a few people before grabbing my number and setting my bike up. I had 2 bottles of drink on the bike and a bottle of watered down torq gels to take every 20 minutes.
I rode down to the start where it felt a bit windier than I had anticipated, they had grouped the 4 women taking part together so we had a quick chat before the off. After talking with my coach earlier in the week I was aiming to keep my power around 170-180watts, but I wasn’t sure if I would be able to manage it. The first 25 miles I held that power and managed to overtake 2 women in front of me. I knew there was another woman 2 minutes ahead but couldn’t see her, I continued, now being overtaken, pretty often, by the men behind (a bit demoralising when they started 20 minutes after you, but something you just have to accept). It soon became apparent that the power I was trying to hold was unsustainable for me, on that day.
Two weeks before I had had my biggest training week and an off road running race at the weekend so started to feel a lot of fatigue in my legs. I carried on as best I could and ignored the power figures.
I picked up my drinks bottles on the 2nd lap and continued with my gel every 20minute, and salt stick every hour strategy. On the second and 3rd laps I knew my pace was dropping and it was now just a case of trying to keep going, I kept having to stop pedalling to give myself a break, as you can see from the power dropouts above. There was a good support crew out on the course from Pembrokeshire, and it was good to have a bit of encouragement as I rode past.
When I got on the back road, to finish, I managed to pick up a bit, and the wind was behind me which was a mental boost. I finished slightly faster than last time and when I got off the bike actually felt like I could have run after. Last time I finished I was pretty shattered and could hardly walk! As the results went up I saw that I was 2nd female. I managed to find some positives about the ride and hopefully it will be good practice for 2 weeks time.
Full Results here