I approached this event with some optimism after recent 10 mile results. However the event switched from the F1B/25 to the F1/25 due to roadworks. Everyone else seems to think the F1B/25 is the slower of the two courses, but I prefer it for a number of reasons. As an aside, this might be the last time I ride on the F1/25 – with the scheduled addition of traffic lights at the Black Cat, the course will be unusable.
Over at Tempsford, we parked and were assailed with usual agri-stench from the nearby farm. The weather was exactly as forecast – only a gently 7mph westerly, and clear skies. Sadly it was rather cold I collected my number, donned my fleecy gloves, and rode off for a brief warmup. That left me feeling rather cold!
From the off, I felt like I was ploughing through treacle. I hoped that I’d pick up a bit of speed on the slip road down to the A1, but that evaporated pretty quickly. I was riding along at 25-26mph a lot of the time, and I had a clear run through all the roundabouts. I did however find it pretty tough at several points after the Buckden turn, presumably a combination of gradient, the wind (albeit quite gentle!) and my general lassitude. By the time I crossed the Black Cat on the return, it was looking pretty touch and go whether I’d scrape under the hour (but frankly I though by then it would be unlikely). Indeed, I crossed the line in 1:00:40.
I’m not sure what the problem was. I’ve suffered recently from pulling my rear wheel, but this was sorted the day before by a spot of judicious tinkering. I will admit to wondering if my wheel was rubbing on the frame after feeling so sluggish (but that definitely wasn’t the case).
On the day, I just couldn’t lift my pace, and couldn’t get comfortable. Maybe this is just getting used to riding in the aero tuck position – which is made a bit more difficult as my new saddle seems rather slippy in combination with my club skinsuit. I’ve taken a bit of sandpaper to it (the saddle, not the skinsuit!) in an effort to make it a bit grippier.
Davey Jones was out there on the course taking photographs. After the event, he lambasted me for using too big a gear!