Not only was this a classic Team Grumpy domestic 2-up disaster, but it was an event marred by course problems (changed from 25 to 15 miles due to roadworks) and by bad weather (blustery rain showers), but ultimately an excellently organised event with a very plush HQ at the Marston Forest Centre.
Team Grumpy had regrouped the evening before, and had spent quite a bit of time looking glumly out the window at the gathering elements. On the day, it was cold and windy, but the rain had backed off to quite light precipitation. We were down as scratch riders in the 6 team 2-up section of the event. This had given us some cause for concern that we might be cruelly humiliated following our recent illnesses. Still, we went over to the HQ to do our best.
The HQ was comfortable and warm, but 4.2 miles from the start of the F15/15. Fortunately we had allowed plenty of time to get to the start, as about halfway there, I heard the characteristic ‘pssh’ and my front tyre went down. This, as regular readers of this miserable blog of cycling cockups may recognise, was my fifth puncture of the 2012 season. Gerry dashed back to the HQ to get the spare front wheel (a Xentis) pumped up, while I limped back on a rapidly softening tyre. Quickly getting the wheel installed, we debated driving back to the start, but felt we had enough time to ride. Of we went, for what was a very brisk warm-up.
We made it to the start with about 4 minutes to go, in time to see a team start (the team in front of us did not start). Unfortunately, as we arrived at the start, we heard…another deflating sort of sound, this time from my back tyre. With the comedy of errors now complete (and how we wished we’d driven to the start – the car had a spare back wheel in it), I tried to persuade the start time keeper that since we’d reported in time for our start, we shouldn’t get a late start penalty if we were delayed from starting due to repairing a puncture. But that cut absolutely no ice, and I was left forlornly looking down the road as my team mate rode off for a solo ride.
I rolled cautiously back to the car and got changed, and waited for Gerry to reappear. When he did finally return, he was terribly cold and wet and not particularly happy with his time. As we’d expected, there was a strong and gusty head wind on the out bound legs of the course (pretty similar to conditions a few weeks ago at the Team Salesengine ’10’ on this course), which made it heavy going.
Having had six punctures on my time trial bike this season, enough is enough. I have now ordered new tyres.