That’s history. I say history because it happened in the past. – Murray Walker
Why start this blog with a Murray Walker quote?
Well that would be because I got to fulfil a dream on 2nd October 2016, which was to ride my bike around the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. What made it even better was that it was a 25 mile team time trial, so I was riding in a team of four, Myself, Ian Hayden, Adrian Watkins and Chris Wilson. We also had a second Tornado team on the day, consisting of Martin Howes, Mat Jessop, Ian Turner and Steve Shepherd.
Seven of us stayed up in accommodation close to the circuit, the night before the event. We enjoyed some Guiness and Ale’s in the Green Man pub and a lovely meal, with some laughs. It was really nice doing an event that was team work, rather than the usual sportives that are really individual based.
It was a fairly civilized start time of 09:10, but time does fly and we just made it to the start area for the 09:00 cut off. Although to be fair I don’t think the marshalls were being as strict about things as the announcer was sounding! It was a fresh start to the day, shall we say, with temperatures at the dizzy heights of 6 degrees. On the last lap of the event I checked my Garmin, which read 9.9 degrees, so we didn’t quite make double figures!
It’s a bit colder in the Midlands! Us southern softies wanted to get back down to our warmer climate.
Martin had fun with a marshall and the easy question of how many laps do we do? The response was, “I can’t tell you, you have to count them yourself”. To which Martin replied, “I know that, but how many laps is it?” To which the response was, “I can’t tell you, you have to count them yourself”. Hmmm! Was he being awkward or did he really just not get the idea? For the record it was 7 laps we had to count.
As we rolled out onto the track, I got a really big smile across my face and I was buzzing, I was on a bike and on the Silverstone race track. We exited the old pit lane and headed up to Maggots, it was just amazing. The surface was black silk, like nothing I had cycled on before, if only all tarmac was this good!
We worked well together as a team, even if on occasion it did get a little out of sync! We only have one practice run before two of the team went on holiday for a week! We had 7 glorious laps of the circuit and a cool down lap, where we enjoyed taking photo’s and taking in the whole event. Both teams were beaming from ear to ear at the end of the ride. It is hard to put into words just how amazing we all felt.
34 teams of four took part in the 25 mile TTT challenge and my team (Tornado 1) came in, in 11th place with a time of 1 hr 7 mins 06 secs. Team Tornado 2 came in 18th with a time of 1 hr 9 mins 49 secs.
This was a great achievement by both teams, but more importantly we all enjoyed the day immensely. We all hope that the event is on again next year, as we would all train a bit harder for it. Who knows perhaps we could get Tornado 3 and 4 going as well! It is worth doing just for the experience, regardless of the time. Working as a team and sharing the experience is the best part!
Having a look at the times, we were very consistent across the first and second 10 mile splits, both with an average speed of 22.4mph and only 4 seconds difference in the time (26:46 and 26:50 respectively). The last 5 miles were covered at 21.9mph average, so we slowed a bit, but the two sections of track that had headwind, were getting harder.
Our lap times were also fairly consistent, with the first lap being slightly shorter:
Lap 1: 08:58
Lap 2: 09:33
Lap 3: 09:50
Lap 4: 09:36
Lap 5: 09:42
Lap 6: 09:48
Lap 7: 09:39
A great way to sign off the main events of the year!