A very warm afternoon made me feel quite sleepy. Not only that, while I was riding around before the start, I really felt I ought to be sat in a beer garden sipping Leffe. This wasn’t helped by the fact the race HQ was in a social club bar. It may have been soporifically warm, but it was quite clear that this wasn’t going to be an easy race: there was going to be a stiff tailwind for the outbound leg, which would make the return leg rather tough. Fortunately, the return leg is shorter!
The F15/10 is quite a new course which has been used extensively this season (I’ve entered another event on it next weekend). It starts at the top of Brogborough hill, which riders zoom down safe in the knowledge they won’t have to race back up it again! This got me off to a fast start, and even having reached the bottom of the hill, I was cranking out speeds in excess of 30mph for most of the way to the turn. The roundabout at Marston is a bit of a brute on the outward leg because, despite the fact that riders are going straight on, it presents an unexpected chicane. Once at the turn, it was really obvious (I mean REALLY obvious) how tough the return leg was going be. This was definitely a race of two halves. For the first half, I was whizzing along at a decent heart rate with the wind assistance, for the second half I put a huge effort in, with my heart rate skyrocketing, and only making a modest speed, despite the effort. Oddly, my speed fluctuated quite a bit, presumably due the varying shelter from the wind coupled with minor undulations in the road.
It was with a huge sense of relief that I made it to the finish line. 22:55, which I thought not bad given the conditions. It was also around the other riders on a ‘5’.