It was clear several days beforehand that the Hardriders 20 mile time trial was going to be ridden in seriously tough conditions. And so it proved. On a hastily relocated course (due to roadworks on the original course) involving two laps of the Astwood circuit, seven hardy souls faced rain (heavy at times) and wind (blustery and increasing in force).

I rolled up already damp (but not too cold) to what seems to be the new HQ for our Astwood circuit events, the Bikebus cafe, to find several windblown and damp riders huddling for shelter. After the usual chat about how wet it was, the seven riders got themselves sorted out. I ended up as #7, and with no others deciding to brave the elements was the last starter.

All too soon, my minute man was off. I took off my jacket, gritted my teeth and listened to the countdown. Then I was off.

It always surprises me how quickly one can shrug off adverse conditions. One minute you’re at the start line just getting wetter and wetter, the next you’re off…and pretty soon you’re not actually too cold. Anyway, this was two laps of the Astwood circuit, and soon I was hurtling down the descent before the Astwood climb. I could see my minute man up ahead of me on the climb. But I couldn’t really give it full effort due to the blustery wind, which tended to buffet me rather too much. I got up to Astwood having taken the climb reasonably conservatively. Out onto the main road with no holdups (unlike last week), and I tried to get into a better rhythm.

The wind was building a bit, but wasn’t too much trouble with the trispoke. I passed my minute man just before Chicheley. The blustery conditions didn’t seem to offer much wind assistance at all, sadly, but did cause some hairy twitches to the steering as I rode past gaps in the hedgerows. As it turned out, I reached the finish line to complete the first lap in about 24:43, a bit quicker than the single lap event the previous weekend – I was oblivious to this, since I couldn’t read the bike computer! As I rode past the Bikebus, I heard a nice cheer from Bryan and some others, which gee’d me up a bit.

The second lap was pretty much the same story as the first – though the wind seemed to have got a bit stronger an the rain stopped halfway through the lap. I finished in 50:14. Despite having passed several riders, I was surprised to find I’d won the event – by 2 seconds from Richard Golding. I repaired to the cafe for a hot cross bun and a double espresso. And some fun banter about “secret training” and comments that I ride a big gear. Usual stuff.

The ride home was pretty grim. I wasn’t feeling cold, despite being quite wet from all the rain in the ride up to the event, and the event itself. But the wind had seriously strengthened, and I was having trouble keeping the bike on the road. All in all, though, this was a pretty good start to the club event series – I think maybe my form is falling back into place after February’s nasty cold – my placings have steadily improved through the three club events I’ve ridden so far.

Pos No Name Club Lap 1 Time Lap 2 Time Cat Vets Std .+/- Vets Std
1 7 Robert Saunders NBRC 24.43 50.14 V55 54.57 .+ 4 43 1
2 3 Richard Golding Equipe Velo/NBRC 25.03 50.16 V46 53.30 .+ 3.14 2
3 1 Lindz Barral Equipe Velo 25.32 51.35 S
4 5 Alex Hornshaw TeamMK 26.21 53.21 V47 53.39 .+ 0.18 3
5 6 Mike Smith Corley Cycles 26.38 53.58 Sen
6 4 Graham Line NBRC 28.29 58.38 V50 54.07 .- 4.31 4
7 2 Darren Haydon NBRC 29.38 60.12 V44 53.11 .- 7.01 5

Time keepers:- Stepanie Cousins & Tony Farmborough (NBRC)

Pusher-off:- Bryan Scarborough (NBRC)