Monday, 21 January 2013

Race Report: IG City Challenge

After at least a fortnight of decent training volume (10-12 hours per week) last week was down as recovery (normally around 50% of previous week).

I took Monday and Friday as full recovery days. Tuesday I completed a decent power set on the turbo and Wednesday included an easy morning run and my normal evening club swim (1.5 hours).

On Thursday I spent the morning working before heading up to London to Excel for the bike show and Nocturne series - IG City Challenge.

I made reasonable time so was able to have a good look around the show before the bike race. I enjoyed seeing some of the latest bikes and new kit, albeit I found nothing to really interest me. I spent 30mins listening to a seminar on lactate threshold tests and setting up your HR zones - again nothing really that I didn't already know but interesting enough.

Around 5pm I ventured back to my car to get my bike and kit out for the evening entertainment - the IG City Challenge.

A good size track had been constructed in one of the large Excel conference halls with tight bends but decent enough straights to really crank up the speed.

I had been elected 'Team Captain' for Brewin Dolphin (the company I work for) and was expected to lead a 4 man team against 11 other city firms including Sky, Wiggle, FT, Ernst & Young, IG Index (main sponsor) to name but a few - in total 12 teams.

Looking down the individual names there were quite a few of category 1/2 riders and many with £5-£10k bikes so I knew the competition was going to be fierce.

I was joined by 3 younger and fit looking guys from Brewin Dolphin - Nick, Neil and Daniel. I had previously ridden with Nick in the L2P event in 2011. It was agreed that Neil was going to do the 1st event - a time trial and 2 laps around the circuit. The pressure was on as each competitor went out on their own and the commentator gave the splits via the tannoy system. Neil put in a good effort and finished mid way through the field. The Sky and Wiggle riders a good 2-3 seconds faster each lap.

The second event was a longer criterium race of 20 laps. As Nick had some experience with such road racing he agreed to represent Brewin Dolphin. His strategy was simply to keep the lead group in his sights for as long as possible. Again Nick performed admirably and finished mid way through the field.

Unfortunately the team faired less well in the next 2 events. Daniel was geared up for an all out 500m on rollers. He was doing well but then one of his feet came out of the pedal straps, which put him behind. My effort on the hill climb was also a little disappointing. Our bikes were attached to turbo trainers and linked to computer generated screen shots of the Alpe d' huez climb. The plan was to complete a 8 min hill climb. It took some time to set the bikes up and the organisers were unable to add any resistance to the turbos, so hardly a hill climb, probably more a fast all out high spin decent. Given my recent training and power sets on my singlespeed bike (mostly high cadence work) I thought this would play to my strengths. I am not sure if it was me or my turbo (all different machines, set up inconsistently) but I simply could not deliver the power / speed needed over the 8 mins to match the other guys. I gave it my best shot but probably came in the bottom 3, which didn't help the overall team position.

The last event was the team relay - one lap of the circuit. Neil went off first and came in with a bunch of riders. It was hard to make him out but as the 2nd rider I wasn't going to take any chances so shot off for the next lap. It took me a second or two to clip my feet in but my pace was good and I came in in 5th place. Daniel and then Nick, our anchor man, maintained our position for a good finish to the evening.

Team Brewin Dolphin may have finished in the bottom section of the leader board but given our inexperience I think we did OK. I personally need to work on more power sessions if I intend to do anymore such racing, although I expect my focus will remain on endurance competitions for the time being.

Meanwhile, the company received some good PR, with comments in City AM and even a mention on Radio 5 Live - see links below:

City AM:

Radio 5 Live:

A nice finish to the event was a team picture with Stephen Roche, who I first met in the L2P 2011 event. I also got an opportunity to speak to Lee Dixon, another sport celebrity who likes his bikes and was involved in the L2P charity rides.

Finally, a big thank you for all the support the team received from our Brewin Dolphin colleagues.

Neil, Stephen Roche, Nick, Daniel, David

Team Brewin Dolphin

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