If marginal gains are the accumulation of small improvements into something significant, then my race today was an exhibition in marginal losses. It seems I’ve made decent improvements this season with the important stuff like training, nutrition and recovery. But today I got a few little things wrong that accumulated into a significant loss. These were:
- Not allowing enough time. The race HQ was moved 2 miles from the start line. I misjudged this and ended up having to race a personal time trial there and back to sign on and collect my number. The result was that I was a bit stressed and tired by the time I reached the start line with just a minute to spare.
Equipment errors. I forgot to remove a few bits from my bike like lights. I also forgot to open out my brake callipers before I started which tend to rub the rims when I put down the power on a climb.
Not knowing the climb. I thought the climb ended earlier than it did so I really struggled from that point on.
Going too hard too early. This hill was about twice as long as the previous few that I’ve raced. I ended up overcooking it on the first half of the climb, going massively into debt and suffocated my way to the top.
Not training for this length of hill. Most of my training has been for shorter climbs so had I got the other stuff right I may still have run out of juice.
Not prioritising this race. The final race of the series is on Burrington Coombe tomorrow and it’s one I’d like to do well on. It’s a long and fairly shallow gradient so in advance of this I put deep section wheels on my bike. Unfortunately the added weight of the wheels were a hindrance on today’s steep climb.
In terms of finding positives, at least I didn’t die. Although I heard someone say “if you ain’t dying, you ain’t trying” so perhaps I should add “not trying hard enough” to the list above!
It’s too early for the results to be published yet, but 3 or 4 riders got up the climb in under 6 minutes. I finished about 20th which isn’t too shabby. I’ll put this one down to experience and try to iron out the errors in the future. Last race tomorrow.