Port Talbot Wheelers 2-up '25' 2009

This event has become Team Grumpy's annual season-starter. It's a well run two up team time trial event run on the R25/24 course. This course uses a dual carriageway section for the first half, before switching to the old road running roughly parallel to the dual carriageway, but which is quite a bit hillier, with several short but quite steep climbs.

Over at the Team Grumpy blog, we'd been doing a count down to this event, ruminating on training and preparation. In the event, we finished our "rigorous" training programme off with quite a lot of Belgian beer, takeaway curries and (on the evening before the event, pasta). Two evenings-worth of system abuse was not, perhaps, the ideal fine-tuning of our finely-tuned physiques (in particular, I've had trouble keeping and/or getting the weight off), so we were feeling a little apprehensive and 'inwardly disturbed' on the way over to the course.

As we left Ferryside, the weather was revealing itself as rather nice - barely a breath of wind, and reasonably warm and with sunny spells breaking through. Over at the race HQ, however, it was still quite misty and cool - but pretty much no wind.

This is us nervously sharing a joke prior to nipping out on the road to warm up. By this time, the organiser had turned up, coerced the locks to the race HQ to open and set out all the usual paraphernalia associated with a time trial.

After a quick return to the car to ditch our jackets etc, we rolled off to the start. Unfortunately we both suffered computer problems - in my case I lost all speed input just after the start, so the timer cut out for a period. This made it a little difficult to gauge our progress. The first half of the event, on the dual carriageway, was relatively straightforward, and we fell easily into out usual 2-up strategy of frequent changes. The photo below was taken on the return leg on the dual carriageway, from an overhead walkway. It shows us in our usual tight formation (with me on the back).

I always dread the second half of this course - not so much because of the numerous climbs, but because I don't know it well enough to know where these climbs are relative to the turn and the finish. Our strategy, therefore, is to try and have Gerry on the front to pace us up the hills. This worked well, aside from three potential obstructions - firstly we encountered two riders warming up on the course, who, upon looking over their shoulders and seeing us, proceeded to wobble all over the road. The second incident could have come from an Eric Sykes slapstick comedy, as a bloke carrying what appeared to be a six foot spirit level took a look at us roaring down a hill towards him at >30 mph then sauntered across the road in front of us. The final incident was the two riders (not apparently associated with the event) who just got in the way.

Anyway, the upshot was that we finished in 58:38, which we were quite pleased with. I spent just about the entire race (well, at least the 54 minutes my computer succeeded in recording) in level 3, with an average HR of 182bpm. Unfortunately we had to dash off to get cleaned up in time for our traditional lunch appointment at Y Polyn. So full results will have to wait until they're officially released.

Results to follow. Apparently we won the first composite team prize, while the event was won in a 54:something.

Also see the Team Grumpy Blog