|He was slow; but in his mind he rode like the wind....|
The Cleveland Wheelers 10 mile time trial was my first out-and-out time trial in a long time. It’s held on a circuit around Stokesley on the northern extremity of North Yorkshire.
Part of the course was where I competed when I was a junior. A field of 40 had entered this late season extravaganza. On the day, I turned up an hour too early and sat reminiscing about the 60 minutes I could have had, unconscious, in bed. The idea is to get around the 10 miles as fast as possible. For some, that’s a touch over 18 minutes. I once did 23 minutes. Not in competition though. These days anything below 27 minutes would be fine; 26 would be good; 25 better still.
There are modest prizes for the fastest.There was also a handicap competition. In the start sheet, I found that my handicap was a generous 6 minutes. I warmed up and kicked off at 9.24 am. The course was undulating and with a slight tailwind, progress was good and I was soon in sight of the lad ahead. He had set off a minute earlier and was riding for the local club, Fiesten Tempo. Near the 5 mile mark I had nearly caught him, but held off, riding 50 metres behind. I was then caught and passed by the guy behind me.
As we hit the last 4 miles, the tarmac was as rough as it gets on an A=class road and the Fiesty temp lad in front sailed off ahead with his fancy bars and pixie helmet and all that aero-dynamic gear (you might have guessed that I had turned up with the bog standard road bike). He didn’t get too far ahead, though, and at the end, I had landed in 27 minutes. Pretty poor, I thought.
I landed a cup of tea and several slices of cake at the village hall and then; surprise...third prize in the handicap and 20th of 30 riders. The winning time was considered to be 2 or 3 minutes slower than the fastest courses. One rider described it as a sporting course. The 2nd place rider who was riding off scratch said he wouldn’t be riding it next year. Sour grapes. I was on reflection, quite chirpy with my ride.
Next season I’ll do a few more, maybe buy some fancy, outlandish looking gear and choose some faster courses. The cyclo-cross bike is considering its position after I found out it had an almost seized bottom bracket....probably didn’t appreciate being dipped in the lake at Foxbar or sprayed with a pressure hose last year. Just need to find time now to get out and start running again. It’s been a sub- 15 mile/week month on that front and I need to get my act together. Don’t want the competition, all those oldies, to get above themselves!!