Top 10 tips to ride a fast 10
This is going to tax the grey matter somewhat as MY fastest ‘10’ dates back to 1991
and I’ve been trying to improve on the 19 minutes 17 seconds ever since. If I knew the
‘secret’ of a really fast ‘10’ I might have joined the ranks of the select few who are now
sub 18 minute men – now that IS fast isn’t it?
So just how DO they go that fast?
Based on my experience (and what I’ve picked up by being nosy by asking lots of
questions without actually giving anything away myself!) I’d list the following:
In 10th position … it’s got to start with a good sound base of winter miles or turbo
training hasn’t it? So … if you haven’t done any by now, it’s too late. Pop off and ride
a few Sportives with your mates and come back this time next year. Do not pass ‘Go’
do not collect £200 etc
In 9th position … you’ve got to start looking at your bike and equipment. Get a skin suit.
In 8th position … and an aero hat.
In 7th position … move your bum forward and drop your front end … ooh err (This is
about position on the bike … nothing else. Ok?). Get some tri-bars (preferably PDQ) …
they’re supposed to make 1 mph difference (or 1.5 if they’re PDQ)! So if you’re currently
a 20-40 rider, that’ll immediately get you down to a 19-59 – so definitely worth a punt
In 6th position … invest in some nice blingy wheels and tubs. Tubs are faster than
clinchers you know? (I’ll get my coat!). I can’t believe the number of competitors I
see who have obviously spent a fortune on their bikes but turn up at races on
‘hose-pipes’. Get a nice pair of wheels and light tubs and it’ll be like coming down from
altitude – believe me! (Tip … PDQ trispoke front / Citec disc rear shod with Dugast Pista
Diamond Silks are the best … IMO anyway).
In 5th position … pedal fast and you’ll go fast. With one or two exceptions, you won’t go fast heaving 57 x 11 round will you? Get the gear right and pedal fast … the faster you pedal, the faster you’ll go. Simple eh?
In 4th position … you’re not going to be able to race at 30 mph if you haven’t trained at 30 mph are you? I know they’re hard (so hard, I haven’t done any since 1991) but intervals are surely the answer to bring out the best speed-wise. Give them a go – but make sure you’re rested before you do them and also allow plenty of recovery time after before trying to race.
In 3rd position … get an early start in an evening event or late start in a morning event (that helps on the ‘fast’ courses). Not only does this guarantee you get more traffic assistance but it also allows you to get to the pubs before they close (when riding evening events) and have a lay in (for ones that are held in the morning).
In 2nd position … start steady and finish hard. Not sure if you can get away with that if you’re after a sub 18 ‘10’ as that’s got to be eye-balls out from the word ‘go’ hasn’t it? (which sounds far too painful for my liking). Users of SRMs or Powertaps will know how easy it is to start too hard – it’s amazing how quickly ‘it’ comes back at you if you go off like the proverbial bull in a china-shop though. Not recommended.
In 1st position … choose a fast course. There are several courses spread throughout the country which are acknowledged as being the ‘fastest’ – the ‘best’ being where the Competition record course was recently annihilated by Alex Dowwset at Six Mile Bottom (honest!) near Newmarket. There are others of course: Levens (never ridden it as it’s too far away. Should be banned for that reason alone IMO!) and the V718 between the M62 and Hull to name but two!
Hit a ‘good’ day on any of them and there won’t be much that can beat the exhilaration of doing a 30+ mph ride. Ride one when I’m there though and it’ll be guaranteed to be ‘pinkling it down’ and blowing a gale.
Current National record holder Alex Dowsett at the turn of the E2 on his way to a 17-20 '10'
Photo courtesy of that very nice man Davey Jones