The recent weather patterns were forecast to continue for this event – heavy showers were to be the main feature.  As it turned out, despite the glowering clouds, all we got was a little light drizzle for a few minutes.

The Stagsden course (see map below) isn’t a very frequently used course, so it made a bit of a change from the regular events.  Unfortunately, I rarely ride on the course, as in my annual cycle of work, I’m generally working away from home at this time of year.  I put this lack of ‘course experience’ down as the explanation of my lousy start in this event.  Shooting off from the start in decent style, my rheumy old eyes couldn’t believe the 29.9mph my computer was showing.  Unfortunately, the road then went upwards – not as who should say a mountain, but a significant impediment to a rider in an inappropriate gear!  I found myself plugging up this gentle undulation at embarrassingly slow speed, before reaching Astwood and lifting the pace significantly.  I suspect this, and the ensuing oxygen debt cost me quite a few seconds, and indeed made me wonders what I was playing at.

Fortunately, things improved from there, as I picked up speed between Astwood and the small climb to Chicheley, and made it to the turn roundabout in decent style.  Coming out of the turn, I could see Tony (who started a minute behind me) was gaining on me.  This spurred me on, and this together with a gentle tailwind no doubt lifted my pace for the return leg (you can see this in the Garmin trace below).  Despite getting stalled a bit by a motorist who was being excessively cautious in passing riders I was about to catch, I felt pretty good about the return leg, finishing in 22:48 (I think).  Results to follow.

I was of course beaten by Tony (and also a visitor from Finchley RT), but that’s kind of to be expected, I think, and at least he didn’t catch me.  So, second NBRC rider in a League event.

Pos Name Club Time Cat + / – Vets
1 Andy Hastings Finchley RT 21.35 S
2 Tony Parks NBRC 22.30 V46 +4.12 4
3 Rob Saunders NBRC 22.49 V51 +4.57 2
4 Trevor Hook TeamMK 23.43 V53 +4.29 3
5 Anthony Batt NBRC 23.52 S
6 Ian Markham Chronos RT 24.35 V42 +1.19 6
7 Alan Crane Chronos RT 25.14 V42 +0.40 7
8 Clive Faine TeamMK 26.02 V65 +4.58 1
9 Graham Line NBRC 27.38 V46 -0.56 8
10 Gilbert Wheelwright NBRC 27.49 V68 +3.56 5
11 Alan Lawson NBRC 28.03 V43 -1.57 9
12 Tony Brunton NBRC 29.18 V46 -2.36 10
13 Dave Crane Chronos RT 32.55 V46 -6.13 11