Ben Hardisty writes…
Another new course for me and another excuse to use my new gadget, a Garmin GPS device which I had previously said I’d never get because I would never need it …ho hum. I had seriously thought about not riding due to a headcold, but with a 2 week family holiday looming, it was going to be three to four weeks before my next ride, so I persuaded myself to get out there.
On the Sunday morning the weather was fairly kind compared to a pretty damp Saturday, with bright sunshine and only a nagging westerly to worry about. Two other Grinnies were riding, Richard Woodward and Paul Winkley, in fact it was Paul who had alerted me to this course with his 58 minute ride from a year or two ago. As it happened Richard didn’t ride as he rather unluckily arrived without his shoes.
The H25/2 course with its HQ in picturesque Marlow, is a simple dog leg in shape, heading first south on the A404 for approx 7 miles then west on the A4 for 6/7 miles, then turning back to retrace. However riders get the benefit of a big drop from the start line, approx 300 feet in about a mile and a half, which they don’t have to ride back up, the finish being somewhere near the bottom of the slope.
Once again borrowing Mike’s aero lid, I enjoyed the initial long descent. But all too soon was huffing and puffing into the wind for the next half hour, trying to catch my minute man, a very big chap on a road bike, who despite his large non-aero frame was proving difficult to catch. Finally getting a second wind I passed him before the turn, only to watch Richard Simmonds (2nd) come sailing by, having gained 6 minutes on me.
After the turn the wind should have been on my back, but it didn’t feel like it ! Eventually I picked up speed a mile or so before the final turn to head north. This part of the course, the final five miles or so is mostly quick, so I was very grateful to see my average speed climb once again. This spurred me on to climb out of the saddle for some last efforts to maintain some speed over the line.
All in all a well organised event with reserves filling in gaps for the DNS’s.
Results 1 Simon Tout Velocity Bikes CC 00:52:10 2 Richard Simmonds London Dynamo 00:52:21 3 Dean Robson Somerset RC 00:53:04 4 Ray Hughes Clarence Wheelers CC 00:54:12 5 Adam Topham High Wycombe CC 00:54:13 Ladies 1 Jennifer Hewitt Sigma Sport 00:59:39 2 Nicky Xandora Banbury Star CC 01:02:04 3 Vicki Fleming Oxford University Tri Club 01:05:26 EGCC Paul Winkley 01:01:21 Ben Hardisty 01:02:27 (pb) Richard Woodward DNS