New Club TT Record for Nick

Last weekend, VCV member Nick Tarmey posted up yet another amazing feat of endurance cycling in the National 12 Hour TT, creating  a new Club record by  more than 12 miles.

Here’s his account. Nick, we salute you!

National 12 Hour TT Championships 2020

When I heard the National 12 was actually going ahead after COVID, the immediate excitement I felt told me I had to go for it. I had wanted to try a “12” this year and had done quite a bit of dedicated endurance training before the pandemic messed up everyone’s plans in the spring. Since then, I had mostly been riding my road bike for fun and all-round fitness – a nice mental break from my work in the ICU.

After entering, I had six weeks to prepare, which mostly consisted of long rides on my TT bike, building up to some sustained 4-hour efforts on the aerobars. These taught me a lot about how to tolerate the position, keeping my neck and shoulders as relaxed as possible. I used the same basic setup I use for all TTs from 10 miles upwards – prioritising aerodynamics over comfort.

The event was held near Wrexham, on 3 separate road loops of about 10-20 miles each, with marshalls moving riders from one to the other as the day went on. The goal was pretty simple – just ride as far as you can for 12 hours!  I managed to rope in my wife, Alison, to support me. For her, this meant standing by the side of the road for a very long time, ready to pass me bottles of water or gel when I came past every 30 minutes or so. Her day was grimmer than mine, especially with the strong winds and heavy showers we endured.

From previous long rides, I had an idea of the pace I could sustain for 12 hours, with a firm plan for max power and heart rate for the first 8 hours. But once I got going, I felt so strong and positive that I couldn’t help pushing on and chasing down other riders – all the while knowing that I would pay for this later on. Right enough, reality came knocking on the finishing circuit and the last 4 hours were spent in a bit of a daze, just trying to squeeze out what I had left and bring it home. Seeing Alison and Mike Anderson each lap was a huge boost, as was the knowledge that the Venta club record was within reach.

At the finish I flopped onto the grassy verge with huge relief, 16th place overall and an official 272.23 miles in the bag at 22.7 mph. I was more than happy to put 12 miles onto our club record – and perhaps even happier to have Alison drive me home while I tucked into fried chicken and chips. If anyone else is thinking of doing a 12, I’d say “go for it!” – it’s a unique experience and great insight into the world of long endurance racing.

Cycling nerd stats, for those that like this sort of thing:

  • 272.23 miles (438.1 km) at 22.7mph (36.5 kph)
  • 2,425 m climbing
  • Normalised Power 219 w (68% of FTP 320w)
  • Average HR 146 bpm (LTHR around 170 bpm)
  • Stopped for about 5 mins total (1 pee stop, plus two sets of traffic lights)
  • Carb loaded for 2 days beforehand with about 650 g carbs per day (a lot of rice, pasta and bagels)
  • Ate 53g/hr carbs while riding (25 gels + 4 bars, a bit less planned as feeling sick)
  • Burned about 8,500 calories vs 2,700 calories eaten