This is an event I enter each year, and is the only event which uses the somewhat peculiar F13/25. I say peculiar, because it features pedestrian crossing traffic lights on the course. To add insult to injury, said traffic lights are immediately outside a police station in Waddesden. Other than that, the course is quite straightforward, and while not exactly hilly is sufficiently lumpy to make it one of the slower courses I ride each year. The 2012 edition of the event featured a new HQ in Ambrosden (the regular HQ in Launton having been booked), and had been altered to avoid new traffic lights. So the main A41 section turned at the new Parkway roundabout, and the section on the B4011 to the finish correspondingly extended. The day before saw spectacularly windy conditions and, while the wind had certainly lessened, it was clearly going to be a problem.
As I foresaw, the outward leg was in general slightly wind-assisted, and the return leg correspondingly difficult. What I hadn’t remembered (at least in how bad it was) was the poor state of the road, ranging from cracked and lumpy tarmac to downright dangerous potholes. This actually wasn’t too bad in safety terms (as long as one kept a sharp look out), though I never like riding over crappy tarmac.
The first climb comes about 3.5 miles from the start, but it’s far from the only one. Indeed the bending nature of the road made some sections hard even on the outward leg. Once again, I wasn’t stopped at the traffic lights in either direction. Traffic was pretty light, so I experienced no real hold ups. The last section on the B4011 was a bit tougher than I expected – I went roaring off after the turn down a gentle descent, but then road turned up slightly and I was left gasping and wondering where the finish was. I ended up with 1:00:35 for 13th place (6th on standard) out of 45, which I was reasonably happy with, given that normally only just break the hour on a good day. Mind you, the winner did 51:31!