This event on the F1/25 unusually used an HQ in Sandy. I’d also decided to ride over to the event, and given my Puncture Bob alter ego, I figured it was wise to set aside enough time to deal with mechanical problems en route. As it turned out, it took hardly any time to get to the HQ, and I got there with far too much time to spare. The main field of the event was your usual open event: to celebrate an anniversary there was also an invitation event with some luminaries of British time trialling, including Alex Dowsett (Team Sky), who had won the Icknield RC event a few weeks before with a 47.It turned out that I was number 101 – the same as Bradley Wiggins in this year’s Tour de France. The question in my mind was whether this would inspire me. After signing on and attaching my number, there wasn’t really much else to do other than ride around the lanes near the start. By the time I’d reached the start line, I’d racked up 36 miles and come to the conclusion that conditions were remarkably similar to the Icknield event in which I’d failed to crack the hour. I was a little concerned that maybe 36 miles wasn’t a great starting point for a ’25’…
The opening mile or so before joining the A1 seemed very tough. Tougher than I expected, even given the extra large warmup. But out on the A1, things weren’t too bad even with the headwind. Turning at the roundabout near Sandy, there was David Jones – snapping riders as they came out of the turn. I closed my mouth, sucked my belly in and tried to look like a fit and fast cyclist. The long leg up to Buckden was quick and uneventful. I got caught for a minute at about 8 miles and caught a rider or two myself. Rounding the turn at Buckden, I wondered what the long southbound leg would be like. As it turned out, not too bad, though the stiff headwind did make things a bit hard at times. The only alarming incident was when a drive scorched into a service station north of the Black Cat, cutting in front of me to do so. I was caught by one of the invitation riders just before the turn. That wasn’t unexpected, particularly given my form this season.
I finished in 58:56 (30th place in the open event), which I was quite pleased with. Its actually the fourth ’25’ I’ve ridden in 2012 and only the first sub-hour ride. Given that conditions were similar to those at the Icknield event, I was pleased with a 1:19 improvement.
I didn’t stick around too long, as I wanted to get home to watch the Tour de France. I eventually got home at about 11:15am with 84 miles completed.