Strangely, there wasn’t even a whiff of rain for this event, which was in itself something that marked the event as a bit special, at least for 2012. The other unusual factor was that we had as scratch rider the current British time trial champion and Team Sky professional Alex Dowsett. Apparently he’d ridden a ’10’ the previous afternoon, recording a shortish 18.

As I warmed up for the event, two things were quickly apparent: firstly, it was actually quit cold just before 7am and secondly, there was quite a stiff breeze whistling across the fields. This promised to make the southbound legs of the event rather tiresomely tough. Well, at least for us lesser mortals in the field!

And so it proved. The initial short southbound leg to the Sandy roundabout undulates a bit, so I found the speed quite high at times, but predominantly I found the head wind a bit of a bother. Once round the Sandy roundabout, things perked up considerably, and I headed northwards a a decent speed. David Jones was there snapping riders as they passed.

Just after the Sandy turn (photo David Jones)

One issue that concerned the organisers had been the closure of the M1 near J12 (to remove a now superfluous bridge) and the re-routing of some of the M1 traffic via the A1. Busy traffic near the Black Cat was expected. As it happened, traffic levels weren’t too bad, I thought, at any point. I reached the Buckden turn in about 34 minutes – from here it’s about 10 miles to the finish. But those 10 miles were pretty tough going. Oddly, there were spells where I was fairly whizzing along. But mostly I was grovelling. And at times finding the steering rather twitchy in the wind.

Shortly after the Buckden turn, I was contemplating a finish time substantially over the hout, but as I crossed the Black Cat once again, I was entertaining hopes that I might squeak a sub-hour ride. But I crossed the line in a disappointing 1:00:15. Mind you, that’s the fastest of the three ’25’s that I’ve ridden this year. As for my mate Tony, he did a long 56. Next weekend sees my first ride on the new cheatie ’10’ course on the Tring bypass.

And what of Alex Dowsett? 47:53. He won. An excellent ride…