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!