Having missed last year’s New Year’s Day ’10’ through illness, I was particularly keen to ride this year. Of course the weather looked less than promising, with strong winds and rain forecast for mid-morning. Despite the forecast, at the time I got the bike ready to go out, things looked pretty promising and I decided to stick with the front trispoke. As it turned out, this was something of a mistake.

By the time we lined up at the start, the strength of the wind had increased considerably…and the rain had not only started but had become quite heavy. I hate racing in bib tights or leg warmers, so I’d removed my bib tights. I quailed at taking my rain jacket off, and decided to leave it be for the race. Some of the riders had been out on the course and had reported how tough it was over the first couple of miles. They weren’t far wrong…I grovelled up to the dual carriageway section where things, if anything, got much much worse, at least for those of us who’d made an unwise choice of front wheels. I was confronted by a stonking headwind that alternately tried to throw me rightwards into the carriageway and leftwards into the verge. Most alarming was the sensation of being lifted off the road as I passed under the first flyover. I’m almost embarrassed to related the lowest speeds I noticed during the outbound section – 13.5mph. I was struggling so hard to control the bike that I really couldn’t even think of putting much effort in.

Once round the turn, things became a bit better. I horsed back along the dual carriageway in top gear, feeling much advantaged by what was by now a major tailwind. Things became a bit more blustery heading back to the finish, but it was gratifying to be cheered on by a bunch of riders in a layby (mostly Bossard Wheelers I think). I finished in 27:59 – the slowest ’10’ I can recall in many a year, but rather delighted I’d finished without any mishap. Full results can be found over at the North Bucks Road Club website.