Gold on Gold on Gold

There’s just no stopping TORQ Fuelled Mark Turnbull as he continues his brilliant season with an impressive three wins in a row.

Photo courtesy of Ken Norbury

Macclesfield Wheelers 25 mile Time Trial 

Mark is lucky to live near a number of popular time trial courses, but for most riders in the North West, the J2/9 near Jodrell Bank is where they will spend the majority of the season racing anything from a 10 to a 100 mile TT.
Mark – As I wasn’t racing until 4pm, my first thought was to ride out to the HQ (weather permitting), which is about 16 miles each way. High winds and the chance of rain put me off, so I did 30 mins on the turbo trainer in the morning and another 30 mins once I got to the race. A bitterly cold wind was going to make this hard going; fortunately the first couple of miles felt like a tail wind, so I was off to a good start, although that was about as good as it got. I’m sure conditions got worse as the race went on and I was really glad to finish with a 53.59. Power was reasonable at 346w considering I had 2 blocks of ice for legs. Heart rate 161, which sounds low, but I’m more suited to longer races. My max was only 171 and that was going full gas to the line. I drank 1.5l of TORQ Lime & Lemon Energy prior to the race and had 2 gels. I don’t carry a bottle for a 25 unless it’s really warm.  
The Jack Clements Memorial Little Mountain Time Trial
This historic and classic cycle race was the 3rd counting event in the CTT’s Classic Time Trial Series 2016.
Mark – I rode the event for the 1st time last year, really liked the circuit and have been looking forward to going back. Last year I used my Wilier Cento 1 Air with tri bars which certainly feels quicker on the climbs and technical sections, but loses out on the faster rolling roads. The first half of the circuit has no major climbs; however as soon as you pass the race HQ to start the second half, the climbing really begins. At this point I dropped it straight into the easiest gear, but it didn’t feel very easy at all. The day before, I had lent my disc wheel to my partner for a 10 mile Time Trial and had changed the cassette from an 11-28 to an 11-25. So now my lowest gear was 42 x 25, which meant I would have to really back off on the steeper climbs so I didn’t blow my legs (last year I used a 39 x 28). Up to this point I had been on target to possibly break the Veterans’ course record, but it was starting to slip away. The last climb, Ankerdine, was tough. It’s a kilometre at an average of 11% and hitting 17% in places. There’s a sharp right hander at the foot of the climb, so any momentum is lost, then it’s straight into the steepest part. It seemed to take ages to get over the top, but once you do, you get the first count-down board, 5 miles to go. I started to see more riders up the road and it helped me gauge my effort on the drags back to the finish. I was a little over a minute off the Veterans’ course record by the finish and hoped it would be enough to win the category. It was, and Round 4 next week is in the Lake District. The Circuit of Greystoke Forest is only 14 miles, which will feel like a sprint after the Little Mountain Time Trial. The numbers look good for this time of year; normalised power was 332w with an average heart rate of 161 and I consumed about 500ml of TORQ Energy and 2 gels. 
RTTC Classic Series Round 4
Promoted by Border City Wheelers, this race is usually held round the Bassenthwaite Lake circuit, but road works on the A66 Keswick-Cockermouth road saw the event move to the very scenic Greystoke course, west of Penrith, Cumbria. Starting at the entrance to Greystoke Castle, the 14 mile lap was nearly all on unclassified, undulating country roads with plenty of narrow, twisty lanes and 1227ft of elevation. 
Mark – I travelled up in the morning and arrived with enough time to drive round the course prior to my warm up. The weather was not as cold as it had been during the week and the rain was just about holding off. The wind was to prove the main obstacle though; at some points during the race it was unsafe to stay on the tribars. By the time I finished, I was quite disappointed; a quick glance at the Garmin revealed an average heart rate of only 163, probably 10 beats off where it should be for a half hour effort. Average watts 352, normalised power 359, which is ok considering the amount of coasting. I was quite surprised to win the Veterans’ category, but if seemed everyone had problems with the crosswinds. With hindsight there are a few things I would do different, firstly a much longer warm up (it was straight out of the blocks and uphill for 3 miles). Within a couple of minutes I realised I wasn’t quite ready for such an effort and it took a while to find a good rhythm. Equipment choice: tri spoke and disc were fine with a tail or head wind, but a real handful on the crosswind sections and I would have been better off using 50mm wheels front and rear. On these technical courses you rarely get the opportunity to take full advantage of disc, as you have to keep slowing down for corners. My 4th and final counting event will be early September. A good result there should secure the series win.  
A big thank you to TORQ and all my sponsors for your support.
Fantastic cycling, Mark! Congratulations from all at TORQ.