After a remarkably warm (and wet) December during which I don’t think we had a single frost, there was quite a heavy frost visible on roofs and cars when I got up in the morning. This was a bit of a concern since it had rained quite heavily in the evening before. Indeed, there were quite a few ice patches on my street when I investigated when the sun got up.

Fortunately, everything had thawed by the time I set out to ride over to Stoke Hammond for the first time trial in 2016. That’s not to say it was particularly warm: far from it!

We had an excellent turnout of 24 riders plus a variety of spectators and helpers. My legs had felt pretty weak on the ride out, so I wasn’t particularly optimistic. On the bright side, it didn’t seem to be terribly windy as we waited in the start area (though actually I think that was largely due to shelter.

All too soon I was lined up and waiting for my start. I had the very fast James Fox behind me, and fully expected to be caught at some point in the race. Having said that, I found the entire outward leg a struggle. I seemed to be racing through treacle and I found it difficult to stay on the tribars. Maybe I should use tribars  a bit more while turbo training! James caught and passed me pretty quickly, but after I reached the turn, things improved – I suspect there was now a modest tailwind coupled with a downhill section.

I roared out from the turn and across the next roundabout without having to stop for traffic. My speed didn’t falter until the short rise up to the next roundabout, where again I didn’t have any traffic issues as I turned right and accelerated down the hill. Upon reaching the final roundabout (another right had turn, and the last before the finish) I was more than a little horrified to see a very large puddle hugging the centre of the roundabout and spanning the lane I was in! I braked to a responsible speed and took the roundabout wide, leaving just the last section to the finish line to struggle through from a slower speed than I’d intended.

I finished in 24:43, not a time I was hoping for, but at least I picked up some speed on the fast return leg. The event was won by Marcus Burnett (Ingear RT), with James fox (Luton CC) taking 1st Veteran. I came in 4th, as first NBRC rider. Full results at the NBRC website.