An absolutely clear and still morning greeted me as I loaded up the car to drive over to Tempsford for the Bedfordshire Road CC ’25’. This event, a ‘slowest 90’ time trial, was to be held on the F1B/25, a version (among many) of the time trial courses based on the A1 dual carriageway near the Black Cat roundabout. This course runs south from Tempsford to turn at the Baldock interchange, where the A1(M) begins (see map below). This version of the course undulates severely at the southern turn and is popularly regarded as slower than the versions of the F1 which head north to turn at Buckden. On the whole, however, the return leg can be quite fast as the turn is higher than the start/finish.
Of course, a clear night meant it was rather colder than it looked! By the time I started at 8:54, two things had happened – firstly it had warmed up to a rather pleasant conditions for the event, but secondly, an annoying breeze had appeared. This was oriented diagonally, but offered assistance southbound but a headwind northbound. In my experience, this is the wrong way for a fast time on this course.
I had a good start, though the two riders in front of my minute man didn’t start, leaving rather a gap ahead of me. I found the opening stretch up to the sliproad onto the A1 quite quick, and this was maintained, except for the climbs later on in the southbound leg. There was little traffic, so I was surprised to be held to a stop at the Sandy roundabout. I was unfortunately in a bit of a tall gear at the time, so getting the bike up to speed again was something of an effort. I carried on, making it through the next two roundabouts with no trouble, and catching my minute man well before the turn. At the turn, I was again held up by a driver, this time a learner, for whom the Baldock interchange seemed to be a bit daunting (and maybe not helped by having blokes in garish lycra on funny bikes turning up at roughly one minute intervals!).
The second leg was pretty uneventful – other than it being surprisingly tough at times up the hills with the headwind. Still, I made it back to the finish in 58:24, which I think was quite a respectable time. My all time best for the F1B/25 is a 54:38, but I did that about seven or eight years ago and on a pretty good day for the course.
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|7||Dr Robert Saunders||00:58:24|