Burrington looms large in my personal cycling mythology. It’s where the hill climbs started, where I rode year in year out. it’s the climb that means the most because of this, but also because of the club connection. It lifts up over the Mendips, a lovely ribbon of road with goats and a hymnal connection.
This year I had a couple of resolutions. The first was to lose a lot of weight. This was precipitated by last year’s 86kg+ wobble to the top of the climb in about ten and half portly minutes. The others were to do a bit of racing. I managed both of these, but to be honest, I picked the wrong year to do a bit of racing. The early season was obliterated and the later season was typified by some club TTs, a couple of opens, a lot of cancellations and several DNS (apols) because the cancellations disrupted everything. I’m not complaining, just saying that it was hard to get up a head of steam.
So it goes. Burrington came around really quickly. I had aspirations of an 8 minute 30 ride. I think in hindsight these might have been wildly over optimistic. I managed it in 9.18. It felt slow, i felt tired. Given that I am now 72kg or so I felt disappointed. But there are reasons, I think. Work has been really tough. I lacked the top end I had 8 weeks ago. That’s the excuses out of the way. All of those things aside, it was great to be back in this crucible of dreams (for me at least), seeing people I hadn’t seen for a while and getting the metallic taste of blood in the mouth and that sensation of being absolutely spent, but still trying to get out of the saddle, like a punch-drunk boxer trying to get off the canvas one last time. I will have to go back next year, where things might be different and I might be a bit closer to not being minuted by a 14 year old.