After the previous weekend’s ’25’ on the F1B/25 (the Beds Road CC), for which the meteorological conditions were challenging to say the least, I had high hopes for this ’25’, on the same course. On the morning, it was cloudy and pleasantly cool and with only the lightest of breezes in the air – if anything it offered a slight tailwind to the turn.

As the Duo Normand is now only 6 weeks or so away, I thought I might try out the new skinsuit which Team Grumpy will be using for the Duo. It’s one of the Bioracer SpeedConcept TT skinsuits, and is made from some superspringy lycra. Actually, the main issues with skinsuits (for me, at least) are (a) comfort at the contact point, and (b) whether the skinsuit fabric fits as wrinkle-free as possible. I can comment that the skinsuit is excellent on both counts. I guess that compensates that the garment apparently makes me look like an old inner tube!

I was starting a bit later in the field than the previous week – #53 at 7.53am – numbering started at 10, so there were 51 riders on the start sheet. That was quite good from a transportation point of view. The southbound leg was uneventful, with clear runs through the roundabouts, and with one rider passed. In fact, I didn’t see many riders out there, as there were some DNSs up ahead on the start order. I reached the turn in a little over 28 minutes, which usually bodes well for me on the F1B/25.  Katja had nudged me last week to put a bit of back into the race – I had planned to go for a 56, so the rapidity of the outbound leg looked good.

On the return leg, there was effectively no headwind, and other than a minor slowing by a Kingsmill delivery lorry at one of the roundabouts I had a clear run back. All the way back, I was doing calculations in my head about my pace – I was figuring on a quite short 56 as a likely result. Passing under the Tempsford flyover I was digging quite deep – a bit of support  as I passed Tempsford spurred me on a bit – and I finished in 55:40.

This is my best ’25’ result since 2010, and one that I’m really pleased with.