This was my first ride on the Stony Stratford course in 2012: of the two prior outings in the NBRC calendar, I didn’t ride the first because of an open event, and the second was cancelled due to rain. So I hadn’t got a clear picture of how the roads had survived the winter (the course normally has some pretty dreadful stretches of tarmac). In the event, I did reasonably well – slightly faster than this time last year.
My ride out the the event was rendered slightly alarming by traffic volumes – indeed I retreated to the redways for part of this ride. The experience was alleviated a bit by being merrily peeped by a passing Mavic car. And, no, they weren’t offering puncture repair assistance! I arrived in time to sign on as #18. To my chagrin, Tony turned up and singed on a minute behind me. Still, I thought, that can only persuade me to put some back into it…
I started off down the road behind some bloke on what appeared to be a single speed mountain bike – I passed him right on the first bend. I found it heavy going on the ride out to Beachampton (successfully avoiding some serious road imperfections), but that was nothing compared to the climb up to and through Nash – here my excess body weight told, and I felt like I was dragging the bike through deep treacle. Once through Nash, I found myself rolling along pretty well. Or so I thought until Tony came rumbling past just before the turn. I was horrified by this and decided I just had to put some back into it!
Coming out of the turn roundabout, I was about 30m behind, a gap which grew slightly on the run back to Nash. But on the descent, my excess body weight became more of a benefit than a hindrance, and this coupled with my monster top gear started closing the gap on Tony. Of course I never quite made it, and he began to draw away from through Beachampton and on to the finish.
All in all, a reasonably encouraging effort. I finished with 27:49.
Results (at the NBRC website)