Now it feels like the year of riding is really starting.
I flew to London and hopped on a train straight to Wales (as soon as I had recovered my lost luggage – the bag with all of my cycling clothes, of course) for a marathon in Margam Park. It was a great course, with lots of climbing and some good singletrack descents.
There was a long section of the novel course surface the Brits seem to incorporate into every race I participate in, and I've never ridden in anything like it anywhere else. Treacle is what they call it. I'm not familiar with treacle, though, and I figure most folks in places that weren’t part of the empire recently aren’t either, so, in Yank terms, it’s soft underneath but dry on top, not gooey, but massively power robbing (like sand). It looks fairly innocent until you realise you are a gear slower than you should be and working very hard to do that. It’s not as bad as soft beach sand, but it hurts.
Instead of the Fat Possums I’d grown so accustomed to, this time I rode a no-excuses bike, a very light Trek carbon hardtail. I am pretty creative with my excuses though, so it was not a problem at all. I won’t go through the details of the difference it made on the climbs.
The race was part of the UK national championship series and there were people who took it pretty seriously, so it started fairly fast for me - excuse number one – don’t get off an airplane after crossing the Atlantic, hop on a bike and expect to be able to go at full speed from the gun. I settled into a reasonable pace and held the power level steady at that point. That’s what I would be doing next week in Portugal, so it was good to get into the rhythm now.
Read the entire Keith Bontrager diary here.