Steve Dennis writes…
After weeks and weeks of expecting dry conditions to ride in, Sunday morning broke to the ominous sound of torrential downpour. By the time we (Robin Johnson had kindly picked me up) were trundling around the M25 though, the sun was shining again and things were looking decidedly better.
After a slight detour around the Essex lanes due to a navigational error, we finally arrived at the HQ in the sleepy village of Steeple alongside the river Blackwater.
This was a counting event for the SPOCO South East 2011 competition and the plan was to firstly get as higher place as possible to gain maximum points (120 points for 1st place, 119 for 2nd and so on), and secondly to try to beat my time from last year which was set in colder, damp and slippery conditions.
As my start time approached, the sky blackened again and I thought we were in for another soaking but it passed over with only a few spots. It had obviously been raining on other parts of the course judging by some of the puddles I was trying to avoid as I set off into a welcome tail-wind.
After 6 miles or so, you turned to retrace your tracks and hit the full force of the wind until the 13.5 mile point where you turned left and headed east again towards Tillingham. The roads then become very twisty which makes it difficult to keep any sort of rhythm going, but at least you had the tail-wind and the road surface was terrific.
Finally you hit the last left turn and the remaining 4 miles of head-wind to the finish. My computer was reading between 27.8 and 27.9 mph over the last quarter of the race, which was above the 27.6 mph target I had been aiming for so a beating of last year’s time was almost certain. I crossed the line in 54:05 – 53 seconds faster, and as it turned out, 1st place in the race.
1st Steve Dennis EGCC 0:54:05 2nd Colin Ward Essex Roads CC 0:58:54 3rd Darren Frostick Maldon & Dist CC 0:58:58 4th Andy Leggett Stowmarket & Dist. CC 0:59:27