After lots of messing around, some dronkenesse and a slightly haphazard approach to training, the first race of the season has been completed. It was extremely cold this morning with ice clearly visible on the roads on the way to the race, but it warmed up quickly and i rode with knee warmers and armwarmers, but not in full tights like last year when it was clearly a lot more mild. I am slightly tougher than last year. Trotters also turned up, riding an 88″ gear made for an interesting and syncopated pedalling experience riding down the bank. Trotters set a PB which is impressive for this early in the season.
The course was a tough one, with 5 roundabouts and a really large ski slope. I scrubbed all my speed off on the roundabouts for fear of crashing. i really didn’t fancy getting injured and breaking my brand new bike on the a361 in february. despite this i managed to clock 50 mph going down the slope, with hands on the levers i hasten to add. i watched Paul Gamlin (the winner with a speedy gonzales 21.24) streak down the slope later in the aero tuck and i was impressed. it was not for me.
doug dewey was there, he is national espoir champion and is off to race against the belgians in belgium very soon. he was a dead cert for the win, until he missed a turn and cut off the final section and roundabout. i think he suspected something had gone wrong when he was looking at a short 18 by the time he finished. I rode the course beforehand because i was nervous about the roundabouts and the hill. even as a warm-up i managed a 21mph average, which goes to show just how fast a TT bike is on a relatively flat course.
i dragged myself round in 21.59, which is the longest of long 21s, to use the parlance, and a 27.5mph average. I’m quite pleased to get under 22 minutes in february. i came 4th behind Paul, a chap from the Dulwich Paragon, and Dave Kiddell. There were 12 seconds or so between 2nd and 4th. It’s reassuring to be near Dave, there is the promise of a titanic struggle in the hardrider series this year. I hope to build on my form and really get up a head of steam for two weeks time, although i suspect everyone else is doing the same. in the corresponding fixture last season Dave beat me by over a minute, although i did catch him up over the course of the season. Essentially, the first race helps to alleviate partially some of the doubt that builds up in the off-season and answers questions about form and speed. I’m pleased with where I am.
Next week it’s the Severn 25 on a real graveyard of a course, a bastardised variant of the u7b. Until recently my PB was set on the same course, a 1.01.47, until I knocked ten minutes off it last season.