Left to my own devices for the weekend, I decided to ride the 22 or so miles out to the Bossard Wheelers ’10’, held on the F11/10 course out by Tring. I had a slight delay while I tried to persuade my Garmin Edge 520 to start up beyond the opening splash screen. In the end, I set off with it in my pocket, while I used the Garmin Edge Touring to give me basic data. The 520 popped into life a few miles down the road. Other than that, the ride out to the race HQ in Aston Clinton was rather nice – it was misty and cool on departure, warming up as I went.
I arrived with plenty of time to get changed into my skinsuit, eat a banana and ensure the Garmin 520 was now playing ball properly. As I rode off for a warmup, the promised rain began to fall, big raindrops that had quite a cooling effect. Fortunately, the rain had stopped by the time I lined up at the start, and with only the lightest of breeze, I was hopeful of a good ride. After a spot of banter with Mary (timekeeper) and Richard (pusher off), I launched myself off down the slip road and onto the A41. The F11/10 isn’t a course I’ve ridden much – two prior outings – so I was playing it by ear a bit. To begin with, the road surface is quite rough, but after a bit it becomes quite smooth and I’m sure I speeded up there.
Soon I reached the first turn, which is a poorly sighted double roundabout in an underpass. This was very well marshalled, and I got round with no issues. Then it was back onto the road again. I was feeling pretty good, but my mental calculations at this point weren’t particularly optimistic. Then I reached the descent, and my speed rose – I maxed at 43.3mph. The second turn was interesting – I came into it between two cars, but the one behind gave me plenty of space, and I didn’t get slowed much at all.
The final section was a bit harder – it’s lumpy and a bit uphill. I looked at my computer and was a bit alarmed by the lower than expected power value! Still, I quickly reached the finish timekeeper on the slip road. I noted the time – I reckoned I’d gone sub-21 minutes for only the second time in my racing career, but would it be a PB?
I rode back to the HQ thinking about this – the time and distance recorded on the Garmin are affected by the auto-start feature. I knew I had 7 secs on the clock before I started. As it turned out, I’d improved my PB by 3 seconds, recording 20:48. My previous PB had been set in 2002! Who’d have thought that the 2016 season would see me setting any PB at the age of 56!