02\ THE RACE AGAINST TIME
Time trials needn’t be limited to a quick 20-minute sprint around the velodrome, as this epic crosscounty drive certainly proves The St Austell Clay Pits Push, Cornwall, chosen by Chris Opie, first British rider to win the Ronde van Midden-nederland, now riding for Bike Channel Canyon
DISTANCE 125 miles TOTAL CLIMB 2970m TARGET TIME 6-12 hours DIFFICULTY 9/10 ROUTE LINK strava.com/ activities/155871810
I wouldn’t recommend attempting this on a whim; it’s a tough day out with refuelling spots few and far between. It takes me six hours at my best, but for an amateur, doing it in under 10 is an achievement. Having said that, for an experienced rider, it’s an ideal training session in the build up to a big race.
Starting near Truro and taking in the St Austell clay pits, Bodmin Moor and the North Cornish Coast, this huge loop rivals the Tour’s ‘Grande Boucle’ while offering up the toughest terrain in the southwest. But it’s not without its rewards; working at an average of 280 watts, you’ll burn 6050 calories over the course of the track – returning nearly a kilo lighter (and infinitely fitter).
If you do decide to tackle it, get a good breakfast down you. I like to have 180g porridge with 100g berries, plus a four-egg omelette. Usually, I take four 750ml electrolyte drinks out with me, and aim to eat 80g of carbs and 15g of protein for each hour I’m out. Packing bacon and egg with rice cakes is a good shout – they don’t taste half as bad as they sound, either.
There are a lot of hills throughout, with climbs ranging from 2-12 minutes in length. But there are also a lot of flat, fast sections that are great for sprints and claiming back precious seconds. A particular highlight for me has to be riding over the eerie but peaceful moors chased by a strong tail wind – there’s nothing quite like the feeling. The Rest Stop – The Sorting Office café in St Agnes has a really diverse range of sugar-free goodies and the best coffee around. Opt for a large one. You’ll need it.