symbol_03The forecast for this event, unusally for this point in the year my first on the F1, was for sunny conditions with a light breeze. There was a light mist as we set off for Tempsford – but this lifted as we approached the F1. We did have to make a slight detour to fill the car with petrol! Unfortunately the wind did rise considerably, meaning there was a rather stiff cross-wind that promised to make the return leg a bit tougher than expected. However, I was keen to really kick-start my somewhat belated racing season. This was my first ’25’ of the season, rather astonishingly.

After the usual start line banter, I set off along the minor road up to the flyover – here a white van man decided that the roundabout was an appropriate place to pass me, driving rather too close for comfort. Down the slip road to the A1, I picked up a bit of speed. Traffic was pretty light on the morning, which was rather good. But it was clear that the southbound legs were going to be a bit tougher than northbound. Turning as the Sandy roundabout, about 12.5 miles at a decent speed faced me, with the only possible hitch being traffic at the Black cat RAB, where I got through with only a slight drop in speed due to giving way to traffic heading off towards Bedford.

I reached the Buckden RAB without too much trouble, and turned to head south. With the cross/head wind this was a bit harder, but not actually horrendously so…until the 19-20 mile mark, where I found the combination of a slight gradient and the wind dropped my speed to around 20 mph. But I soon picked the speed up, crossed the Black Cat in decent style to finish just outside the hour. I rode back to Tempsford with the guy who’d started a minute before me – he was a bit cross at his choice of fixed gear (he’d been misled by the weather forecast).

I had to leave Tempsford before the results board was populated with data, but I estimated my time as about 1:00:04 (see Garmin trace below). A bit frustrating not to get below the hour, but rather better than I’d expected, given the paucity of racing and training this year. I was pleased that I seem to have finally got rid of my bad back – I had no trouble riding in the aero position. Onwards and upwards.

Roadkill avoided: two deer, one cat, one pigeon.