We had a weather forecast of thunder and lightning for this event. On the day, however, it was another very hot afternoon, that mostly made me want to loaf around instead of exert myself! Tony came round to my place, and we rode over to the race HQ at Lidlington. When we got there, we were told by a timekeeper that roadworks on the course had necessitated a last minute change to a course thought to be about 7 miles. Instead of turning at the second roundabout (Wootton), we’d turn at the first roundabout (Marston Moretaine), retrace to the foot of the hill then turn left along the wonderfully named Sheeptick End, finishing just before Lidlington level crossing. Supposedly, this was about 7 miles (actually I made it about 6.5 miles). Another amusing factor was that this was a ‘flying ant day’, when all the new queen ants were emerging. I could hear these beasts bounding off my aero helmet, and see dragonflies and swifts zooming around eating them!
Off to the start, and I did my best to warm up. I cruised up and down Sheeptick End, until I was confident I knew where the finish was. This section needed a bit of care, as there are several fairly sharp bends with large parked vehicles such as camper vans. The start was a little alarming, as the pusher off seemed to be having a little difficulty holding my bike, but soon enough I shot off down the starting hill. The outward leg wasn’t too bad, and I was holding a decent pace to the turn. Unfortunately, the turn was affected by a line of half a dozen cars and their drivers seemed to be a little alarmed by the rider ahead of me that I was about to catch. After negotiating my way through that, I passed the rider and set off back along the course, dodging potholes as I went. The surface of the road seems to be deteriorating quite quickly.
The return leg wasn’t so quick, and I was quite relieved to reach the little rise before turning off onto Sheeptick End. This lane was quite quick at times, quite slow at others, but with a rather rough road surface. I eventually crossed the line in 15:02. The race was over, seemingly not much more than a warmup!