I ordered a new saddle on Monday after doing some research about sit bones, numbness and time trialling. The first principal of 'testing' as its commonly called by the velominati is that unless your comfortable, you can't focus on optimising your ride. The saddle was an ebay special, a seconds, but still fifty quid. Still about half the normal price. Nothing is cheap in the world of cycle racing...never has been. I fitted my new saddle and the latex tubes and Continental tyres to the bike on the Friday and loaded the bike it into the car. The forecast for Saturday was grim for Yorkshire with heavy rain. Predictable.
I arrived at Brotherton Hall, picked up my number and drove the 4 miles to the start. There was hardly anyone else around. It was a filthy day, loads of surface water and quite dark considering it was Saturday afternoon. I was going to warm up with my rollers, but opted to sit in the car and stare out the window at the rain. There were a couple of magpies sheltering under an umbrella by the side of the road.
I had remembered to bring my rear light this week, but initially it wouldn't work and it took some recharging using the car cigarette lighter socket before it would flash. I reckoned to ride a busy road in Ferrybridge in the pouring rain without good lights would be madness. As I pulled on my velotoze over my shoes, I knew at least my socks and shoes would stay dry for the ride.
I rode up and down the street for a couple of minutes and then it was time to go. I was number 34. I had driven the course before I had parked up. It was very wet, quite busy and full of long drags. As I got into my stride I knew the first half was generally uphill. There were 4 roundabouts to tackle on the route out and this certainly slowed progress. It would be pointless to skid off after travelling 2 hours to this gig. The tyres are devoid of tread, were thin and were pumped up to 80psi. Wet oil on a wet road is an ambush waiting to happen. As the occasional car came by, it threw up bucket loads of roadwater, but I was wet already. It's not so much about being wet on a bike, but its the cold that makes riding miserable. I was a little wary of water filled pot-holes along the course and tried to take a line away from puddles which often drew me into the centre of the lane.
I reached the turn in 14:07. That was a minute down on where I wanted to be, so it meant I would have to bury myself on the return leg. There was no repeat of the previous weeks discomfort on the saddle front. That allowed me to concentrate on the riding. I was back through the various roundabouts before long and glancing at my garmin mounted on the bike stem, I had less than 30 seconds to reach the finish line which I could see out of the wet safety glasses I was wearing. The objective was to crack 26 minutes. The fall-back was to beat 26:11, recorded a fortnight ago in Bishopton. Returning to the Hall with my number, I was pleased to see my time given as 25:59. Phew, that was tight, but mission accomplished...until next year.