I guess a week at residential school with its heady mix of cafeteria diet, excessive drinking and late nights isn’t really the recommended preparation for a time trial, and so it proved.  I’d also not trained for a fortnight.

The event was held on the F1/25, on a very calm but slightly oppressive morning – indeed as I left Tempsford after I’d finished it began to rain, and this would presumably affect the later starters.  One other factor was that I was riding my newly installed USE Tula handebars.  I was a little concerned about the location of the brake levers, and whether I’d be able to reach them quickly enough in an emergency.  Well, I found them pretty good, and the slightly altered position seemed very comfortable.  For the first five miles or so anyway.  Throughout the race I was keeping my HR up at well above 180bpm – I presume I am well-rested!

The problem was my extreme carbon saddle – extreme in lightness, but also rather unforgiving.  Now, in the past I’d raced at distances up to 50 miles on this saddle, but today I was suffering quite a bit, and I kept finding myself fidgeting and riding out of the saddle more than was really necessary.  So, from feeling quite confident in the early stages, it became quite clear I was far from likely to pull a halfway decent performance out of the bag.

And so it proved – I finished in 59:21, somewhat slower than my previous outing on this course a fortnight before.  Still, I was quite pleased with the Tula bars, if not the effect on saddle discomfort.  I’ll switch saddles for the midweek event up at Astwood, and see if that makes a difference.  Next weekend, I’m riding the Beds Roads CC ’25’ on the F1B/25, which is the southern course.  I’m a bit happier with that course – fewer sliproads, and somewhat perversely I find it a bit quicker.