Well, all the weather forecasts for this morning were diabolical – heavy rain and strong southerly winds were forecast. I’d decided that there was no way I was going to race on a major dual carriageway in heavy rain, so I was more than a little apprehensive. In the end, the BBC changed their forecast to sunny spells (and they got it wrong – we had a little light rain, but it was pretty heavily overcast). What they did get right was the stiff breeze, which promised to make the southbound legs really quite tough.
The event was on the F1/30 (my first ever 30 mile time trial): starting near Tempsford, riders head south, joining the A1, crossing the Sandy roundabout to turn at Biggleswade North (Warden Lane) roundabout, heading north across Sandy and Black Cat roundabouts to turn at Buckden for the final 10 mile southbound leg to finish near Tempsford. There’s a map of the course, with some heart rate and speed data at the end of this report.
As I got started, I was appalled at the state of the miniroundabout that takes the riders onto the sliproad to join the A1 – successive harsh winters coupled with an evodent unwillingness to repair damage has left it in appallingly pitted and potholed condition. Indeed one to the riders I talked to at the start said that he’d punctured in the potholes at the Beds Road CC ’25’ a few weeks ago. This was good to know, and I took the roundabout very carefully. On joining the main dual carriageway, I was already regretting having done the ’10’ on the preceding afternoon. Slogging into the headwind was really quite miserable and mostly I was only holding 23mph or so. Of course, once round the Biggleswade North roundabout, things looked up considerably and, benefitting from a helpful tailwind, I must have averaged over 29mph to the Buckden turn.
Returning to the finish was a 10 mile slog into the headwind, a section in which I really lost the will to race. Bizarrely, there were stretches which were presumably quite well sheltered, where I saw my speed creep up, but on the whole I was knocking out 23-24mph. I passed the 25 mile point in about 57:52, and eventually finished in 1:10:43.
This being my first 30 mile time trial, I suppose this represents a personal best. I’d have been happier had it been in more comfortable conditions though!