This event was the second time trial of the weekend. It is also likely to be the last event to be held on the F1/25, as scheduled roadworks are expected to affect the Black Cat roundabout, and may leave a legacy of traffic lights. I’ve never really got on with this course in recent years and usually find myself floundering on the return leg – there’s often a head wind on those exposed sections of road.
I got up quite early and sorted out my kit in advance of being picked up. I noted it was really very cold, with a real end-of-season autumnal feel. I could also hear owls hooting as I pumped up my tyres. I travelled over to Tempsford with Katja, a friend from work who’s quite new to time trialling – this was her first ride on the F1, I think. The sun was low in the sky, and there was quite a bit of low lying mist. Over on the F1, things were pretty clear as we got our numbers and set out to try and warm up.
By the time I started, I was thoroughly chilled – my Garmin data for the event showed that it was around 8 degrees, and it had bee colder than than. I had a good start and rode off to join the A1. Coming down the slip road onto the A1, I picked up a decent amount of speed, though it was obvious that the southbound sections would, as so often is the case, suffer from a nagging headwind.
Once round the Sandy roundabout, my speed picked up with the tailwind, and the northbound leg was pretty nice. Except for my Assos skinsuit, the legs of which were riding up. This had been evident at the start, where another competitor had noted that this showed off my leg tan quite nicely. This, however, wasn’t really uppermost in my mind, as the skinsuit was rather uncomfortable. In an email exchange with my Team Grumpy colleague and so-called team mate, it was asserted that this problem must have been due to my stick thin legs. I prefer to claim that the leg grippers are defective. Anyway, this situation made the photograph that David Jones took look remarkably odd – to the extent I am reluctant to post it (oh, vanity).
Despite the sartorial defects of my ride, by the time turned at Buckden (unusually, I was held up there by traffic), I was becoming increasingly confident that I might record a decent time. One of the ways I try to keep focus is to continually recalculate my ETA at the finish line. At some point before crossing the Black Cat, I’d concluded I was possibly going to do a long 57. This spurred me on, and indeed I crossed the finish line in 57:52, my best time on the F1/25 since August 2010 (and 2010 was my last good season, when I was knocking out 6 season best times).