The U7B is my local course. i’ve ridden it considerably more times than any other ten course I know, especially if you factor in club events. Over the past three years I’ve steadily improved through a combination of fitness, form, equipment and pacing. In May 2010 I managed a 22.37 for 7th place in an event won by Jeff Jones. I was 2 minutes adrift.
Today i managed a 20.45 for 2nd place behind the same rider and the gap was 35 seconds. Jeff is the 3rd fastest rider over 10 miles in the history of the event. He has recorded a 18.09, behind Bradley Wiggins with a 17.57 and Michael Hutchinson with a 17.45.
It’s clear progress and I feel pleased with everything. The U7B is a tough course with some really draggy climbs, more so than your average, but i really like it. It’s honest as the day is long and only one person – Stuart Dodd – has managed to go under 20 minutes, with a 19.58 or thereabouts. I’ve gradually worked out how to pace the effort and when i turn up to ride i’m generally relaxed and in a positive frame of mind; this undoubtedly helps. Getting under 21 minutes is generally considered to be very rapid and it doesn’t happen very often. Open events on the course are frequently won with mid 21s.
One of the more amazing things about today was the return of George Keene. He has had an enforced layoff after breaking his collarbone. He couldn’t use the extensions because he was still suffering from the residual after-effects of the injury, but rode round in 30 minutes for a 20mph average. He is 80 years old. George appears in the clips in the two previous posts to this one. He is legendary figure and an inspiration.