This was a day which, rather than April showers, we saw April downpours.  This was a pattern all day.  Indeed, I declined to take my time trial bike to work due to horizontal rain (usually I ride the bike to work and go straight from work to the evening ’10’).  I was still swithering about whether to race when I got home, but conditions brightened slightly (as they do) and off I went.

Now, I’ve used the heavy rain symbol not so much for the race itself, but for the conditions around the race.  I could see extremely dark clouds obviously emitting heavy showers up ahead, and in fact they looked to be on top of Astwood itself. Reaching the meeting point, I discovered five other apprehensive-looking cyclists (but I think not many of us had ridden up) and the start crew.  So it was definitely race on!

I ended up as last rider, at #6, and as Lindz and I waited to start, the rain started again.  Thus dampened, the ride itself wasn’t affected too much by your actual rain (though the highways were really wet, with significant puddles).  I had fitted a rear light in a vain attempt to increase my visibility to traffic, and I took every corner with some trepidation.

In the falling light, I could barely read my computer display.  Actually, that might be characterised better as beng due to a combination of failing light, ageing eyes and steamy glasses.  Anyway, I could see by the time I turned at Chicheley that I wasn’t exactly on a ride.  But I did feel a lot better than in recent events, notably the Team Salesengine ’10’ and the Beds RCC ’25’.  No really pressing problems occurred – not traffic, no potholes, so little to report other than the generally wet and depressing conditions.  It did feel as though there was a bit of a headwind out to Chicheley, but thankfully nothing as bad as we’d seen earlier in the day.

I finished in 4th place with 24:54, which isn’t quite as bad as it sounds given the conditions (I think). Things got really bad on the way home.

It was just starting to rain as I set off. I have to say at this point that several people offered me a lift home, so what transpired was really my own fault.  The rain got really heavy, and after a bit I was so drenched that any further rain wasn’t really much of a worry.  I was felling a little cold on the descent from Cranfield though!  What really took the biscuit was puncturing just over 2 miles from home, then getting caught at the village level crossing.  I decided I wouldn’t stop to repair the tyre, as my fingers were pretty cold, it was pissing down, and the light was failing fast, so I bumped home on a flat rear tyre, in my own personal cloud of blue language.

I suppose this is character-building, but this is the third puncture of the year, and in fact happened in exactly the same place as the last one!

Results (at the NBRC website)