Flying on ‘the list’ at the ECCA100

ECCA100 – 12 minute, 17 Watt PB and 4:04:26 get me well on the women’s All Times Fastest list

The winding up to next week’s 12 h Nationals continues. A proper power PB at last week’s National 50, and today a massive PB over 100 miles. I am very pleased about those results, and having two power PBs in a row make me think more positive about achieving my power goal for the 12 …

My strategy of shifting my rhythm seems to pay off – recently bed time was 8 pm to get up again at 4 am. Maybe the biggest advantage was that I can fall asleep very early before those early morning races. The 2:30 am start today wasn’t too bad, meeting Helen Reynolds at the HQ to hand over bottles and discuss how to to the refill of my Speedfill bottle. Suddenly I ran out of time and needed to ride to the start a bit faster than intended. Oh well, a good warm up it was 🙂 Not being 100% sure where the start is didn’t help, and seeing the riders at the start line was a relief. 4 minutes to go – time for a gel and focussing. And adjusting the tape with my target times for the roundabouts so I could actually see it whilst riding.

It was a strange feeling to ride with target times – them being to finish in 4:08 to get on ‘the list’ with a bit of time to spare. The agreed power was 205 W, but that was forgotten quickly. I told myself not to overcook it, and felt somewhat bad when lapping my minute women, who has faster 100 times than me, but on other times I was in the lead. Still, I felt good and wasn’t going THAT hard, only 15-20 W above target 😉 Getting to the northern end, the Red Lodge turn, was quick and nice – neither traffic nor wind. But the turn immediately reminded me of the bad road surface on that stretch, and soon after that I was reminded of the painful long incline after the start of the E2/25 course … Trying not to overcook it, but frequently going to 246 W on the climb made me ride on a 217 W power by then. But it felt good and I got to see Helen at the Four Wentways roundabout exactly on target time. I wasn’t sure if I could keep up that power, but so far it felt good so I tried to stick to keeping to this power. And make use of the fact that the northward journey always seems easier, but the song’s ‘Keep on pushing, you’re pushing real good’ and ‘Spinning right round, round round, like a record baby’ started to play in my head. I was pleased to see the average speed up to 24.7 at the Red Lodge turn, and was sorry to see it constantly drop going to Four Wentways, riding into a proper headwind. And I am sure the roadsurface was even slower and the upholds were longer. At least I knew the course again properly … I dropped down to 24.3 by the time I reached Helen for a quick bottle fill up, the stop and roundabout making it drop to 24.2. Still well on target, in fact I was so ahead of target time that I had to shout at Helen that I am coming up the slip road. She was ready but don’t quite expect me. Anything just over 24 mph was necessary to stay under 4:10, but again there was the nagging doubt whether I can keep up the power for another 38 miles? I was utterly pleased to see the average speed increase by 0.1 mph between the turn and the finish – so there is hope for it not being spoiled at the end. I thought again to make use of the tailwind and me liking the northward leg, so I tried to increase the average speed as much as possible – 24.6 mph at the turn. Thinking back I am no longer sure about the tailwind, as during the return leg I think I had a tailwind there, so the wind must have turned at some point. Great for my ride, but I heard many others complain about it … At this point I thought I just go for it, and whenever I looked at the power metre I saw them down at 180 – so why the average power did not drop I still don’t know. But inclines now meant sitting up to use other muscles (unless I thought there was a head wind and being aero paid off), and there were plenty of clusters of tired riders not really separating, and plenty of passing back and forth. This was stressful as I tried to keep to a rhythm and couldn’t quite do it. And I did hurt. A lot. And even more. But seeing the speed so high meant I really wanted to keep it going and collected every ounce of energy I could muster. Lots of yelling at myself, lots of telling myself I don’t have a PB until I am over the finishing line, too much can happen. Seeing the second last exit was good – it can’t be far. One more incline, sit up and push up it … Push it real good. Glad to see the timekeepers right after the turn – hurray! And having the Garmin show 4:04:20 meant even if that’s not accurate, it will be under 4:10 🙂

Pedalling on to the HQ was tough and painful, but the cool down was needed. Much needed.

A superb ride by Alice Lethbridge got her the win in 3:57:35, and I am very pleased with my second place in 4:04:26. Eleanor Haresign came third in a 4:11. Overall winner Richard Bideau did not seem to be affected by the wind when doing his 3:22 …

Lots of people liked this new version of the E2/100, being completely on dual carriageways. I certainly do, and three laps work well for me … The wind was a bit all over the place, so you never knew what the next lap will bring. A huge thanks goes to Helen Reynolds for a new bottle refilling record, reducing the time for two refills from 30 sec to 22 sec. It really helped to have you there!

Overall a great event, and having two strong power PBs makes me more confident for next week’s National 12! Recovery now 🙂

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