Congratulatons to Dan Edwards on his storming ride in the prestigious BDCA 100 mile timetrial this weekend on the A100/4 course. Dan beat his previous PB by over 20 minutes with a time of 3.56.45, narrowly missing the club record by a couple of minutes.

Here’s how it all panned out in Dan’s own words:

“I entered this event just a couple of weeks after my last 100 back in May (once the trauma had worn off!) and have pretty much spent the whole time since preparing for it – this was going to be the main event of my season. That is assuming I actually got a ride – the BDCA 100 is a bit of a legendary event and attracts the fastest riders in the country, you have basically no chance of a ride unless you have already done a 100 and it needs to be a reasonable time too. I think the cut off time is usually around 4:25 so my 4:20 would mean I was one of the slower riders in the field. When I saw that doping control were there testing people I knew it was definitely a serious event!

My prep had basically consisted of plenty of turbo time to build some fitness, very little in the way of long rides, but I trusted that if I paced it right, then it wouldn’t matter. I also spent time looking into nutrition and hydration, since this was a big issue at the hounslow event. I didn’t drink enough because I didn’t want to keep sitting up to get my bottle and I felt a bit ill from all the gels (despite only having 4 in total) – this led to me bonking at 50 miles and really losing power from then onwards. I decided that I would therefore make sure I took enough gels on the bike, and worked out a schedule for taking them – meaning I would consume about 40g of carbs in gel plus another 20 from drink – 60g/hour seeming to be a good target to aim for. I trialled a couple of different carb drinks and settled on a vanilla flavoured one which didn’t leave my mouth feeling disgustingly furry.

To prevent issues with not drinking enough I got hold of a camelbak, which had a 2 litre bladder built into a baselayer, I wore this backwards so that the fluid was on my chest and modified the tube bit so it would be near my mouth when in the aero position. That meant I could drink whenever I wanted without sitting up and breaking my aero tuck. A 3 hour test ride confirmed that this would all work well. With everything in place and a target power in mind I was ready to go!

The A100/4 is based on the A50 near Derby starting and finishing outside the Village of Etwall. There are two 50 mile laps to complete, all of which are on the A50 aside from a small dog leg of around 6 miles towards the Village of Rocester, turning in front of the JCB headquarters; and another small excursion near the turn/finish. The road surface is fantastic throughout, with many miles of concrete, which is very fast but also exceptionally loud with passing traffic, which becomes very tiring after 4 hours. There is not much in the way of climbing, aside from what is known as the ‘concrete mountain’ infact it is more of a drag really but it does go on for miles and really saps your energy. It is a very fast course and I was certain I would PB – I had a target of beating 4:20 and a stretch target of going faster than 4:10. Weather on the day was warm and dry with a bit of wind gusting around, but nothing to dreadful.

Riding a 100 mile TT is a strange experience, you start out at what feels like a very easy power/pace but over the hours it becomes increasingly painful and hard to maintain – unlike shorter events the pain slowly creeps up on you, gradually building to a peak in the final hour or so. I joined the A50 slightly over my target power but feeling good and ready. As time passed the first little niggles started, a numb finger on one hand, a pressure on the sit bones, a slight ache in the neck… There isn’t much to see when you are flying along the dual carriageway and this simply adds to the suffering as the time passes. There is nothing to distract you from the sensations that you are experiencing and it takes a great deal of focus to keep going. The numbness, the pain , the aching gradually start to build then more niggles pop up; aching shoulders, numb toes. At this point I was around 40 miles in and I knew I still had more than 2 hours on the road yet. I stood up at the odd roundabout to relive the strain and shuffled about a bit as I rode. Initially the pain in the sit bones could be relieved by a slight shuffle on the saddle but soon nothing was comfortable. It was just a case of ignoring it – easier said than done.

I have been told that there is point during a 100 miler when you want to stop, at the Hounslow this was at 50 miles almost exactly, when I became nauseous and almost pulled over, I took a gel and managed to continue but at a much lower power/heart rate. During the BDCA it happened somewhere around 60 miles, the same nauseous feeling except this time I was ready for it and downed a caffeine gel and a big gulp of my drink – I also had word with myself and seemed to pull through it after a couple of miles – this time I was still holding my power and my heart rate remained steady so I knew I had cracked it. The other issue I had at the Hounslow event was terrible hot foot at about 90 miles, which made the last 10 miles excruciating (it basically feels like all of your toes are broken) I had fitted some new insoles with more arch support and made sure to leave the straps almost undone at the start as I couldn’t believe how much my feet had swelled at the Hounslow event. There were a few miles where I had the same sort of pain, but luckily only one foot this time, and it seemed to pass after 10-15 miles.

When I hit 75 miles, I realised that I could go under 4 hours, if I could do the last 25 miles in around 58 mins – I tried not to let that ruin my pacing plan though and just kept steady, however with 13 miles to go I realised that I really could go under 4 hours and just decided to throw caution to the wind, forget the pacing and gun it! Those 13 miles were absolute hell, with everything hurting and finally in the last mile or so my calves started to cramp up, I managed to ignore it though and finished in 3:56:45 – over 20 mins off my previous PB, but more importantly a well paced ride that unfolded exactly as I hoped it would. I barely made it back to HQ and spent a while laying in the grass by my car when I eventually made it back. Today I am aching everywhere, but now gagging for the next 100 miler – I really enjoy the longer events and next season will definitely be doing more. If anyone fancies doing one and wants some more info, just let me know and I can give you my thoughts!

P.S my time left me middle of the table – the winner did a 3:21 which I think is the 2nd fastest 100 ever!”