West London CA 25
Paul Winkley writes…
No I didn’t wake up thinking I was Arnold Schwarzenegger this morning just another 5am call to go out and ride a 25 mile Time Trial.
Glorious morning, fantastic new bike, good form of late and a fast [ish] course – what could possibly go wrong!
There was a field of 80 for the WLCA Open 25. I quite like the H25/2 in Marlow, done a few good rides on it over the years. The A4 Bath Road section is a bit rough but as a first ‘proper’ 25 in several years thought this was a good place to start.
For those not familiar with the course it starts at Handy Cross just off the M40 on the A404 near Marlow, you roll down a hill for about 1 1/2 miles at the beginning so I suppose you could say it has a ‘gift start’ as you finish at the bottom. Apart from that it’s the usual mix of rolling ‘A’ roads and dual carriageways. It can be quite quick [course record is a ’49’] but is inclined to be a bit windy at times – today was almost a ‘float’.
I must admit to being a bit nervous as personal expectations were quite high, you can tell immediately you get on a bike if today is going to be ‘your day’, it was George Hincapie who described them as ‘no chain’ days!
I could tell straightaway that the bike did indeed have a chain as I dragged myself up the hill to the start running through a prescribed drill to warm up properly, round Handy Cross roundabout and come down the other side of the carriageway to the start.
300 metres after leaving the timekeeper you’re doing over 40mph in the ’11’ sprocket trying to keep as straight as possible as the traffic comes past at motorway speed – I wont bore you with the rest but it wasn’t pretty, grunting and groaning like Maria Sharapova all the way round to finish 1.01.08, could have been worse I suppose!
….. then I started to remember I used to be able to do a 58′ on this course and I’m not even married to Sharon Stone!
[If you don’t understand this I suggest you watch the 1990 film Total Recall!]