Paul Winkley writes…
A3crg Oktoberfest 25
The Rolling Stones wrote ‘you can’t always get what you want’ I believe Mick Jagger is a keen cyclist, and think he must have been referring to our beloved sport!
A while ago I entered my last race of the season – a 25 mile TT on the much talked about P881 which goes up and down the A3 [several times!] near Liss in Hampshire and on the right day is supposed to be quite quick.
Opting for a warm up last week with Richard Woodward with a 2up in the Epsom CC 25 on the Horsham course all would seem to be in place for quick ride to finish the season.
Waking extra early on Sunday morning feeling good, loaded the car and set off for Hampshire – I knew immediately it was cold due to the thick frost on the windscreen! Still, at 5.30am and 4 Deg C it’s bound to warm up before my appointment with the timekeeper at 7.55am.
Upon clearing the new Hindhead tunnel on the A3 I watched with dismay as the temperature dropped further and further arriving at the HQ with the outside temperature only 1 Deg C. Okay a morning for legwarmers and double undervest but wish I’d brought some gloves.
A warm-up on the turbo has never been so welcome and after swapping the back wheel for my trusty carbon disc, rode to the start. A quick check of the bike then it was 5-4-3-2-1 go! and into a nice rhythm out onto the first section of the A3 to the first turn. My heart sunk when I reached for a bigger gear and realised the lever was already fully down and I was stuck in the 15 sprocket. Something must have happened when I changed the rear wheel, I had a sneaking suspicion what it was, but decided to press on anyway. This course looked fairly flat and the high cadence turbo sessions I’d been doing would come in handy – bad decision as it turned out, this course is not flat and at times needed a much bigger gear. Great course though but whoever did the traffic count is numerically challenged.
Finally I succumbed to lack of gearing with about 3 miles to go grovelling over the finish to record my slowest 25 of the year 1.03.20.
My thanks to A3crg who put on a very well organised event – and congratulations to the winners, surprisingly all of whom were in the last section of the field and rode when it had finally warmed up!