March 2021 Strava Segment of the Month

Spring is nearly with us as March brings the first dedicated TT stage of this year’s Segment of The Month competition. TT bikes are specifically permitted for this stage, so dig out your skin suits, aero helmets and shoe covers ready to set your best pace.

Reaching the start line of this segment requires a steady approach from the South, via the B3046 through Axford village, then taking a sharp left into Dummer Road. Out of the gate, the first two thirds of this 2.8-mile segment meanders gently, if unevenly, along Dummer Road, rising softly with a pleasant average gradient of 1.5%, as it then transitions into Duxford Lane.

March Segment

Not over-pacing this first section will be one of the keys to success, as you will likely need to be holding on, just over threshold, saving some matches for the final third. Gratefully, Breach Farm Lane on your left, after the twists and turns in the road come to an end, marks some small respite, with a short false flat followed by an equally short gentle downhill section.

Legs still burning, hopefully you have enough left to power over a short, but at this stage, harder that it ought to be ‘hump’ in the road that sets you up for the run into the end of the segment. Immediately after you’ve navigated the ‘hump, the road begins to open out with fields on your left, as you pass Dummer Cricket Centre and you will then be able to see ahead along the length of a short straight section of road, that precedes the final climb.

Knowing what’s left to come will likely motivate you to begin winding up your power, holding your best aero position to build your speed for the final push. Ending this segment with a short but annoyingly steep climb, means you’ll have to empty the tank, probably getting out of the saddle, with the road twisting to the left as the incline begins.

Don’t leave anything on the table, as you now need to sprint as hard as you can, aiming for the crest of the hill and the finish line just ahead of the M3 motorway, that crosses the last part of Duxford Lane. Over the crest of the hill allows you to gently and safely slow your pace, as you coast to the junction with plenty of road left to catch your breath.

Nailing a great time on this segment will require even pacing and the most aero position you can hold for up to 10 minutes. KoM times are only likely to be set with an Easterly tailwind. Even so, it is realistic to expect a sub 7-minute time may well be needed to top the leader-board this month.

Your attention is drawn to a couple of risks that this faster TT segment might present. Keep a look out for potholes, especially near the verge. Oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road at the narrower parts of the lane could also be a risk; and as always, please follow the rules of the road.

Note that the time of writing it isn’t yet clear what changes (if any) might occur to social distancing rules, so please adhere to whatever they may happen to be at the time. Good luck to everyone taking part.

The link to the segment is here:   https://www.strava.com/segments/26709888