Finally, some good weather!  The wind dropped to more modest levels than of late, the rain went away, and this strange shiny thing in the sky illuminated us all and raised the temperature to more satisfactory levels. Oh, and I am finally beginning to feel like a bike rider again, as I recorded my best ’10’ time so far this year.

Breaking with tradition, the Bossard Wheelers ’10’ moved this year from the F12/10 on the Leighton Buzzard bypass, to my local course near Brogborough (the F15/10). The Bossard Wheelers are on a bit of an upward trajectory at the moment, and seem to have an influx of riders, a new strip, and a website. The F15/10 has been much-touted as a quick course, featuring a descent from the start that riders don’t need to ride back up. A number of test events used the course in 2011, but it’s not been until this season that I’ve had the opportunity to have a bash at it. My experiences prior to this event had been less than satisfactory. I was still ill for the Team Salesengine ’10’, where I recorded a career-worst 24:48, while my supposed 2-up ride at the TeamMK event left me distinctly deflated.

Seeing as how this is a local course, I did of course ride out, taking a longer route through Ridgmont. I noticed many groups of kids with unfeasibly large rucksacks congregated at various points along the route. One such gang passed comment on my bike – in return I asked what they were up to. Apparently it was some Duke of Edinburgh thing, though I’m uncertain why Phil the Greek would be so keen to have groups of teenagers looking baffled in the countryside. Still, at least they had decent weather for it.

The HQ for the event was in the Marston Social Club, about 3.5 miles and two level crossings from the start. Signing on was in the bar, and a succession of lycra-clad old blokes (as usual for a time trial, the majority of riders were veterans) must have entertained the drinkers there!

Once up at the start, there’s little scope for riding about, and I ended up chatting to some of the other riders, and not actually focussing on the task in hand. I was a bit remiss in not getting the computer started exactly as my minute man started. Anyway, after a bit of jibber jabber with Richard and the timekeeper (which seemed to focus on the recent deflationary debacle at the TeamMK 2-up), off I went as fast as I could down the starting slope. Once on the course proper, things always get a bit more interesting – it undulates a bit, and there seemed to be exposed sections. This made my speed seem to vary quite a bit. I did spot David Jones taking snaps out on the course, and I had my very own tifosi out to support me!

Having spotted the photographer, it's always good to hold one's stomach in! Photo: David Jones

Crossing the first roundabout seems to need a bit of attention as the entry and exit roads are offset. I maybe could have taken that a bit faster, but I’m naturally a bit cautious. I took the turn roundabout reasonably well (though I did thank the marshals, so maybe I wasn’t going hell for leather). The return leg was a bit tougher I thought. The wind seemed to be a bit blustery and sporadic, and didn’t really give consistent assistance. But I suppose the counter to that is that it didn’t give consistent hindrance either. The last half mile seemed pretty hard. I finished with 22:39, my fastest ’10’ so far this year. Despite Geoff’s efforts at the results board to offer me a 21:22, honesty prevailed! Still, I made it to 10th place – at least some form may be returning.

Overall, the course doesn’t seem as fast as claimed. But it’s an improvement over the F12/10 as its traffic levels are quite low.

Results (top ten places)

1 54 Ian Knight Team Corley Cycles 21:18
2 70 Luke Clarke Team MK 21:19
3 40 Tony Ball Team Swift 21:22
4 50 Simon Cannings www.twenty3c.co.uk 21:30
5 45 John Lacey Hemel Hempstead cc 21:38
6 5 Alistair Sponel The Pony Shop ( USA ) 22:03
7 55 Andy Sharman Baines Racing 22:13
8 66 Ian Baynes Hemel Hempstead cc 22:25
9 17 Nigel Hale CC Ashwell 22:27
10 30 Robert Saunders North Bucks Road Club 22:38