I think this is only the second time this year that I’ve raced on this course, owing to illness, injury and pressure of work (it takes a while to ride over from work, so late meetings are quite disruptive). This event was true to form, my back pain had returned, and I only managed to make the event because a new colleague at work wanted to ride and offered me a lift to the event. The lengthy period of hot and sunny weather continued, with the event being run on a hot and sunny evening. There was a rising head wind for the closing section, but really, the conditions were pretty good.
I was quite a late starter, and found I was feeling pretty good as I set off. By the time I reached Beachampton I thought I was going OK – indeed I only felt like I was in any real difficulty at the steepest part of the climb up to Nash. On the other hand, this is far from my favourite course, and it’s particularly unforgiving for riders who are a little overweight (as I am) or who have a niggly sore back (as I did)! I could see most of the riders on their return leg as I headed out – they were whizzing back down the hill looking for the most part like they were enjoying themselves.
Riding through Nash, I could see there were kids on bikes in a schoolyard. After I turned (no issues with traffic or farm animals), I was concerned to see people, including the kids, wobbling about in the road. This brought back memories of the Icknield ’10’ on the Brogborough course (F15/10) last September, when two small kids caused me to come off at speed. On this occasion, everyone kept their line and I safely negotiated the twisty road through Nash and started the descent. This was quite quick, and I was still feeling good as I passed through Beachampton. Over the rise after Beachampton, and into the last few miles of twisty lanes and I felt I was flagging a bit. Indeed, I crossed the line with 28:18. Not bad I suppose, given my recent performances, but I’d have liked to do a ’27’! Full results here.