There was a lovely start to the day – I set out under cloudless skies, but clouds gradually appeared, and by the end of the event we were riding in blustery wind and rain. So the weather icon on the left is a bit of a compromise. It wasn’t particularly warm, given that this is mid-June, and when the rain arrived, it got still colder.
This being my first time trial since going on what purported to be a cycle touring holiday (you can read more about it here), I didn’t have huge hopes for a stellar performance. Usually it takes me a week or two to get back into the swing of racing. I’d received a link to the startsheet by email. At first I couldn’t find where I was – this turned out to be because I was the penultimate rider to start, one minute before the great Ian Cammish. Well, two thoughts crossed my mind. Firstly, just when would Cammish come roaring past me (reckoned by the time I passed Tempsford heading north for the first time), and secondly what a contrast to my last open event, where I was the first rider off! Carol had ridden roughshod over my dopey plan to ride over to Tempsford for this event (and given how the weather turned out, how glad I was) so it was quite a leisurely trip over from home. I wasn’t feeling in peak of condition, for reasons that I won’t bother with here, and hadn’t slept well. On the other hand, the morning was glorious, with quite a gentle wind from the south.
As I lined up for my start, I noticed Geoff P. scooting up asking for a late start – given that he was number 46, this would have been about 45 minutes late start penalty! Geoff and I are usually at a similar pace, and having him two minutes behind me could spur me on, but only if I had any oomph in my legs…
Off I went, and up the lane to the roundabout that takes riders down the sliproad and onto the A1 southbound. Hallelujah! The Council has deigned to repair the dreadful potholes that have blighted this RAB so far this season. Joy was not long-lived, as I felt just dreadful on that short southbound leg. Indeed, I toyed with the idea of chucking it in. However, I’m made of sterner stuff than that – my view is that packing in doesn’t get you anywhere and that riding as best I could would at least represent a good training ride. After rounding the turn, things got a little better, though not good enough to hold Cammish off until Tempsford…
Rounding the Buckden turn for the first time, I found the headwind light enough, though by the time I reached the Black Cat, I was definitely feeling it. Before then, I’d passed Steve T. on the roadside with a puncture. The pattern was repeated for the second half of the time trial, though is was apparent when I can round the Buckden RAB the second time that the headwind had got significantly stronger. It continued to do so until I found myself grovelling along for the final mile to the finish, trying to stay above a measly 20mph.
So, not a good day. I finished with 2:03:06, about a minute back on my last ’50’ on the same course a few weeks back. I felt pretty crap then. David Jones was on the course taking photographs.
Results to follow. If I can bear to reveal them.