I was quite pleased that the current heatwave abated slightly for this evening event on the Astwood circuit. As usual, I lined up at the start yawning widely and proclaiming that I was too tired and hungry to do a decent ride.
A few minutes before I was due to start, I had to nip into a field for a nature break. Unfortunately, upon emerging I found my Speedplay cleats had clogged up with mud and I had to spend some time poking the mud out with a stick retrieved from the verge. This was rather disconcerting as even after I dug the mud out I found that unclipping from the pedals was most erratic.
Anyhow, I started as number 4 and pretty soon after starting, found the outward leg to Chicheley rather twitchy and difficult due to the wind. Once round the turn things got easier, and I began to entertain hopes of a sub-24 minute ride. By this time, I’d caught one rider and had a second in my sights. I redoubled my efforts and pressed on to catch the second rider. In these evening events, I find I’m unable to read the smaller numbers on my bike computer (a combination of vibration, low light, and needing reading glasses). I was able to make out the elapsed time, and I figured I’d need to put in a serious effort.
By the time I reached the final descent before the climb to the finish I could see the last of the riders in front of me, and I threw everything into the effort needed to catch him. This I managed, just before the finish, with a final effort that saw my heart rate reach 203bpm! Gagging and gasping, I slumped to a standstill, hoping against hope I’d got under 24 minutes…and when the results were sorted, I found I’d done a 24:00 for third place.