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RTTC National Championship 24 Hour Time Trial

By Janet Fairclough

I decided to have another go at the 24 Hour Time Trial as last year I had to pull out after about 12 hours due to illness.

So the first thing I did was set out a plan. Originally I had planned to do the first 75 miles at 20 mph but as the course was going out to Battlefield (hilly route) and having completed the 100-mile TT the week before I knew this wasn’t achievable so I amended my plan accordingly. My target mileage now is 396.39 miles.



I must admit I was tempted not to have any breaks but realized how important it was to stay fuelled up and hydrated.

I recently got hold of a demo saddle from ISM a PN1.0 which I had used for a 45 mile ride the week before so this was going to be a real tester for it.

Friday night I labeled up five lunch boxes, one for each stop and made up my bottles. I had lent two large flasks from work one I filled with milk and the other with hot water. So I knew I had enough water for 5 pints of tea. Yes, I have a pint-sized cup.

My start time on Saturday 23rd July was 1.06pm so I just needed to get a good night’s sleep on Friday. But unfortunately I watched the news and it said that “Low-Cost Holidays” had gone into liquidation apparently the week before. This was a bit concerning as I had booked a trip to Tenerife with them. So didn’t get the restful sleep I needed.

Woke up early and packed up the car leaving plenty of time to get to the Head Quarters in Chester. Sat Nav sent us through Runcorn which was a nightmare with all the road works!!

Arrived at headquarters with an hour and a half to spare. Had a couple of cuppas and some lunch so that I was fuelled up before the start.

As always I get so nervous at the start when I’m held up on the bike. Got off to a good start and soon passed numbers 3, 4 and 5. So I was out in front, wondered how long I could maintain that before being overtaken. I had done 32 miles before I was passed, not bad I thought!!

The first time I would pass Alan was around 37 miles, I told him I may need a bottle. As I approached where he was supposed to be I could see his chair and the bag but he was A.W.O.L (gassing I expect). Luckily I had two bottles on my bike and did not need a bottle at that point.

My first planned stop was at 75.57 miles and I was bang to target with my time. I had ten minutes to eat an Egg Mayo Barn, Slice of Custard, drink a glass of milk, drink a pint-sized cup of tea and have a “wee”. This was a tough challenge in itself but somehow I managed it.

On my second lap round Quinna Brook, I could see the car parked up with Alan asleep at the wheel. I really needed a bottle of water at this point. So I shouted “water” next loop. Luckily he was ready with the bottle on the next loop and just passed it up as I didn’t want to stop  I was so thirsty I drowned the bottle in the next 12 miles.

My second stop was on the Quinna Brook circuit at 151.70 miles. At this stop, I needed to fuel up and also get my lights and high vis vest on. I was still more or less on target.

I then set off towards Epsley but unfortunately my light fell off the bike (not sure why as it had been alright for over 155 miles), no time to stop for it, wouldn’t have been able to see anyway so carried on in the dark for a few minutes while I managed to get the second light on. So when I arrived at Epsley I needed an unplanned stop to get another light put on. Made use of the break for a cup of cold milk.

My third stop was at 212.57 miles and believe it or not my Sat Nav had lasted out until this point. While I ate my Egg Barn I had 10 minutes to charge up the Garmin. I had lent a Garmin from Colin but was worried in case it came off the bike so decided not to chance it. I kept the charger attached to the Sat Nav but the only way I could do this was to have the Garmin upside down. Anyway, this worked ok and better than no Garmin. Headed back to Prees and just as I was getting near to Epsley the Sat Nav went off so a brief stop while I gave it to Alan to charge and off again. This next lap was with no Garmin.

My fourth stop was at 274.52 miles and the Sat Nav was fully charged so that was great. Always conscious of the time as 10 minutes goes really quickly.Alan informed me at this stop that the flask was empty and we had no more hot water. That can’t be right as I had enough for five mugs, then found out he had been using it….. So off I went again and was then sent to the Quinna Brook circuit. Starting to feel really tired now!!

My fifth and final stop was planned at 348.39 but I think I stopped earlier as was feeling hungry. Then another loop of Quinna Brook before being sent to the finishing circuit.

I really enjoyed the ride from Quinna Brook to Chester as I was able to put the “hammer down” and felt “lively”.   Arrived at the finishing circuit and with under two hours to go. At first, the finishing circuit looked ok on quiet country lanes, then to my disbelief, we were sent up a hill, a hill I thought are they having a laugh!! It was tough and I was knackered, so, so knackered. Oh my god, I thought how many times will I have to climb this!! It turned out twice.   I was willing 1.06pm to come.

I finished up a hill at 1.08pm as you have to ride to the next finish point. I was desperate for the loo and had a wee in the nettles but I was just too tired to worry about them.

I then followed the route back to the Head Quarters which was about 4 mile and to my disbelief I had to climb that bloody hill again. I thought never ever again!!! I have done lots of challenges over the years but I have to say this has been the hardest, I would say due to sleep deprivation.

Back at Head Quarters I chatted to Ruth and yarned continuously then when we sat in the hall I kept nodding off. I wanted to stay to find out my mileage, I did have an idea but because of the Garmin going off I just wanted to be sure. I did 376.25 Miles not bad hey!!

I got home and was so tired I just crawled into bed and slept till about 8.30pm then got up and had a shower. My body was aching everywhere my arms, my hands, my back.

I watched the tour and fell back to sleep. Woke up about 3 am and had to go downstairs and have some “Ready Brek” before going back to bed for a couple more hours.

This morning I checked the CCT website and was so made up to find I was the third lady and second lady Vet. In fact, I screamed and the lads in the Office thought I’d won the lottery. Next thought was “Ok” maybe and only maybe I would do it again!!!! Oh, by the way, I lost 2lbs in weight….bit of an extreme diet though!!!

If I attempted it again and at the moment it’s a BIG if what would I change:
I would make sure at least one of my two bottles was just water.
I’d just stick with the custard as this was tasty and so easy to digest.
Oh and I would set Alans phone alarm to go off 20 minutes before my expected time!!!

Now to the saddle… bum is fine so I can recommend the saddle 100%!!

Men:

1. Michael Broadwith (Arctic Tacx) - 535.04 miles

2. Jonathan Shubert (Arctic Tacx) - 510.23

3. Victor Chetta (Mid-Shropshire Wh) - 509.67

4. Tim Bayley (Arctic Tacx) - 508.91

Team: Arctic Tacx (new competition record) - 1554.18 miles

Women:

1. Lynne Biddulph (Born to Bike-Bridgtown Cycles) - 420.29 miles

2. Emma Richardson (Audlem CC) - 410.01

3. Janet Fairclough (St Helens CRC) - 376.25

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