Twinkly Dave – Mud splattered bicycle and pizza enthusiast Growing old disgracefully

September 13, 2020

Uncompetitive competitiveness

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 9:34 pm

Last weekend saw me do what will probably be the last TT of the year. I’d done a 50 (and got a PB of 1hr 50min), then done a 10 (and got a PB of 20min 27sec), so it seemed fitting to give the NLTTA 25 champs a go.

I wasn’t sure about getting a PB on the course chosen for it – the route around Winmarleigh was undulating in places and windswept along the coast in others – but it’s still racing, so it’s still fun, right?
As ever, I’d set myself up to be uncompetitive by doing it on the road bike with it’s clip on areo bars. Lining up the greatest excuse of them all in advance, really. Good job I did, too, as the first thing the timekeeper at the start said to me was “You’ll not get a more still day on the coast than this. Perfect conditions.” My back up excuse was out of the window.

The ride went pretty nicely really. I got into a rhythm and sat there quite comfortably, despite the best lumpy bumpy country roads trying to fire me off the bike at times (don’t think I was alone in getting backed about over the potholes and subsidence!). I slightly misjudged how far it was to the finish line and set about a final flourish for the last mile, at a higher speed, with about 200ft to go (doh!) but other than that, it was just a nice feeling, solid ride. Not too much suffering, just a high but sustainable tempo.
I was delighted to find that I’d got the PB I wasn’t sure about – by a minute, finishing in 56min 49sec. A clean sweep of PBs in all the TTs I’d done. Ace.
Just as ace was the result – 6th overall (from more than 100 entrants) and 1st V40. Happy days!

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Using 1st gear to it’s fullest, up Trooper Lane.

This weekend saw the return of doing an “event”. One where other people are also there, unlike the comparative isolation in a TT. Not a race as such, so not “competitive”, just a good hard day out with other people (all socially distanced and following all the required guidelines, of course). Phil, Dave and me headed over to Yorkshire (via costa coffee) for the Ronde van Calderdale – a sportive that should have taken place during the cobbled classics season in the spring, delayed until now (as the cobbled classics have been, coincidentally).
The sun shone, the temperature rose enough for everyone to pretend it was summer again and everyone just sat back and took it easy on all the cobbled climbs because we’re not a competitive bunch. No siree. Not at all. Ahem.
Just hurtling about the place up hill and down dale on the road bike on a nice (and windy…) day is a joyous thing to share with people, especially if you can spend a big chunk of the day doing it until your legs protest and the idea of sitting around drinking beer takes over. It was great to get an event like that in, this year. A result in itself.

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The headwinds weren’t too pleasant, but there was still much fast decending to be done.

And now, with any luck, we can start looking forward to come cyclocross. Maybe. Hopefully. You never know. Etc.

August 16, 2020

Less is more

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 6:36 pm

Another TT this weekend. A straight, simple, not “SPOCO” (ie hilly), not hill climb, flat out TT.

Well, I say not hilly. Lots of people go enter TTs on this particular course because it’s a great big cheat of a route. You start about 120ft higher up than you finish. The first half mile or so is, lets not beat around the bush here, a descent. As I’d not raced it before I worked on the assumption that I’d be getting a PB on the night simply because the only other TTs of the same length that I’d done were ‘club’ ones on much faffier (and flatter!) courses. I decided to pay no attention to the time and just look at my power instead.

Perhaps stupidly I’d not armed up particularly well, so I suffered a bit getting my HR up and never really got on top of the effort. I also suffered a bit with my gears…in so much that I didn’t have any big enough for the first mile (I mean really, I was spinning out 52×11 and hitting 40mph, that’s just daft!), so I literally couldn’t get lots of power out!
Yes, there were some slight traffic issues – the rider in front of me was going slower and built up a bit of a jam behind them, which I caught up to and then got stuck with until the drivers learned to overtake – but nothing that would really cause anyone to write the evening’s ride off, it just meant I was spinning when I should have been thrashing out the mega watts 😀

Depiste not feeling “on it”, not having big enough gears for the downhill (I’m calling it that from now on), the mini traffic jam and almost going the wrong way at the finish – the finish being down (yes, down again) a slip road, which i only noticed about half a second before missing the turning, thankfully there wasn’t anyone behind me as I made my last minute course correction! – I pushed out the same wattage as I did in last year’s “clubs 10”.
On that occasion I’d felt good and thought I’d put a good solid effort in, this time I knew I was down on power and not yet at race fitness, which is a nice positive to take from it!

Oh and yes, I did get a PB, by over 2 minutes. Still not buying a TT bike though.

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Pic by Ellen (who I didn’t spot on the night!)
And no, I’m not actually as fat as that picture suggests. Honestly. I’ve no idea why I look like a barrel bellied porker! ?

As always, big thanks to Lee at Transition MTB Coaching – he knows what he’s doing, even when I don’t!

August 3, 2020

Something happened!

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 11:58 am

Well, after several months of no racing (apart from pretend races against imaginary people while training, who I always beat…), last weekend saw a competitive event take place 🙂

After having it pointed out to me, I couldn’t resist entering the NLTTA 50 Championships. They might lack the explosivity (and you could argue the handling…) required for ‘cross, but there is a nice simply purity to the suffering involved and, as we all know, you (well, I) can’t train as hard as you can race. So my name went in the hat and got pulled out along with 119 others. Happy days!

I dug out the posh road bike the week before and reattached the aero bars, snuck out and put some effort in for 25miles, to see if I could even ledal in the bent double, hunched up position after months and months of not trying to get aero. I managed it and (ahem, thanks Lee) got some decent power out of my legs even though I was obviously less effieicnet in the untrained stance. I wasn’t 100% comfortable but given the lack of preperation I was happy enough.
I think, and I know this seemes a little odd, I’d missed the pre race faff almost as much as the event. The simplicity of getting the legs fresh in the run up to the event, getting race day kit together, working out timings in my head about when to be where/what to have with me, what contingencies to plan for. Making race day as structured as possible can be very cathartic and, by the time I actually rolled up to the start line I was wonderfully relaxed. 🙂

The actual event went pretty well. Yes, there were the “classic TT excuses” to deal with – held up in traffic on the one narrow section of the course, more slow traffic on the roundabouts, visor fogging up in the (lashing down!) rain and so on and so forth, but I held a relatively steady power / heart rate for the first 30 or so miles and didn’t panic when my rhythm got messed up by the aforementioned traffic and I ended up having to do a series of mid TT sprints to reaccelerate after negotiating the Sunday drivers. I wasn’t able to settle back into the steady state I’d had before, but the final 20 miles weren’t awful and I finished in a decent enough 1hr 50mins with a nice new power PB for the first 90mins, despite not being used to riding on the aero bars. Can’t be disgruntled with that!

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Next up is the NLTTA 10 in a couple of weeks. A few adjustments to the bike needed after they made themselves
uncomfortably noticable (saddle position and the like, nothing drastic) and hopefully a chance to get another nice power PB to make the summer of training despite all the lockdown issues feel even more worthwhile 🙂

Transition MTB coaching

May 14, 2020

Infomercial

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 2:52 pm

How’s your lockdown going?
Mine’s going pretty well TBH. If anything I’m barely noticing it. Thanks to the continued hard work from Lee from the Transition MTB Group, my daily routine is much like it was before we all got told to go home. Each week my plan for exercising drops through and I fit it around my Working From Home rota with glee. Each week I progress a little bit and work towards hitting the CX season (in whatever shape it ends up taking) in brilliant form and every day I get to see that someone is closely guiding me through the training and reacting to how I do. I get all the structure and routine needed to keep going through this weird period, with non of the stress of trying to understand what I need to do to get better and how to react to how I’m performing. It’s brilliant. I hear about people frantically taking up new hobbies, getting stuck and getting frustrated with them…I’m just pushing my existing hobby further and loving it more and more!

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A little bit of structure and continuation, in these crazy times

OK so there’s no denying that the lockdown makes many things worse, from the lack of joyous clamour in a shared office (my current co-worker doesn’t get involved with paper aeroplane throwning competitions in the same way), to trying to cram an entire family into a selfie shot
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I’m missing chucking the bikes on the back of the van and buggering off to races with mates or just into the countryside for a few days


But with any luck all of that will be back before all this nice weather gives up and goes away (and the van’s never been cleaner and more ready to go!)

So, there we go, I’m feeling pretty lucky and stronger than ever right now. Hopefully see you all soon 🙂

PS Sorry if that did actually read like an infomercial – it wasn’t originally intended to, I’m just genuienly made up with how things are going because of their help.

March 16, 2020

The empty chill as the house lights come up

Filed under: Uncategorized — dgpowell @ 8:02 pm

Safe in the dark, nestled in the warmth of hundreds of likeminded equals, you’ve stopped time and lost yourself in the moment as your favourite band provide the perfect surroundings. For a short while, perfection is shared out between those in attendance (and, you hope, those one the other side of the stage). Flinging yourself around as best you can, knowing everyone is doing the same thing and loving it just as much as you are and not wanting it to end.

I glance at the Ride Time feature on my watch as I spin under the arches , halfway round the race course. 1hr 56mins. Damn it.

You know this song really well. You realise, as it ends, that it’s all over. The band waves, shouts thankyous and march off stage.

I’m not going to get round half a lap in 4mins.

It can’t be over like that. Surely there’s more hits to be blasted out. One last dance, sing-a-long, anything. The darkness remains, but the stage is still empty…

2hrs 1min says the watch as I see the timing tent appear round the final corner.
“One more lap Dave” shouts Jason. I beam a mud splattered grin. Hit the North for one last time.

Encore!

Hit the North 7
Fastest bike in the world, that. Fact. Thanks to Sally Burgess for the pic.

One last chance to clean the stupid steep climb (nope, never mind, I’ve done it a few times already, so it’s fine). One last chance to really rail the rapidly drying singletrack sections (yep, ace). One last chance to pretend I’m a downhiller on the double drop before the first water splash (yep, so much gnarl!). One last chance to grin and worry about nothing but riding a bike as fast as I can (yep, glorious).

The final song reaches it’s crescendo. Your throat is hoarse from screaming along. Everyone’s is. The band triumphantly take their leave, the house lights come up, the heat dissipates and the arena begins to empty. You’ve nothing left but somehow it’s over all too soon.

Hope there’s another one of these gigs. That was awesome.

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