Another weekend, another ’10’! This time on the Leighton Buzzard course (F12/10). This is a course that I always feel ought to be quicker than I find it – unfortunately it suffers from a heavy surface, is exposed and has a roundabout to cross twice, where one often gets held up by traffic. But, hey, it’s another race…
The weather was a moderate but blustery wind, and it was reasonably warm (but still cool for an afternoon in late May). I arrived at the start line with a few minutes to spare. While being held by the pusher-off, I observed that there was an ominous road kill alongside – fortunately I don’t think there were any accidents out there! The timekeeper seemed to take some pleasure in teasing me about my recent spate of punctures (of which, more later).
I started in reasonably good style, but pretty much straightaway got stopped by a line of traffic at the Billington roundabout (you can see the drop in speed on the Garmin trace). Despite dropping down a gear, it still took a big effort to get back up to speed again. This was a bit tough, as the outward leg was pretty heavy going, with a nagging cross wind. Reaching the turn, I once again got stalled by traffic at the roundabout, before I set off on the return leg.
The return was mostly considerably faster than the outward leg – but despite this wind assistance, there were some real hard sections. I reached the Billington roundabout dreading a further holdup, but passed through smoothly. So, all in all a pretty uneventful event, no problems with traffic (other than at the roundabouts). I would generally expect to do around 23:15 or so, so my 23:29 was about what I expected!
Oh, and to return to the subject of punctures. This time it was Tony who was afflicted: just as he neared the start, his front tub punctured. He dashed back for the spare wheel, but unfortunately he’d forgotten the track pump so he rode the event on a slightly soft tyre. Didn’t seem to affect him too much – he beat me by just over a minute!