Ben Hardisty writes…
Almost 2 months previously Stef, Ted and I had made the effort to travel to the Bentley bypass course in Hampshire for a chance to record a half decent time during early season. However on the day a stiff NE wind + damp conditions put paid to those ideas with us all recording very sluggish times.
But on Saturday conditions were much improved, warm and sunny with only a gentle westerly, so now there could be no excuses and it was down to the rider. I got there early and as I was starting pretty early at n#9 I had the chance for a 10 mile warm up taking in the ‘drag-ier’ bottom end of the course.
Reaching the start line with 10 minutes to spare I was interested in the early starters, 3 tandems and 5 ladies. Not surprisingly there were 2 burly chaps performing the ‘pusher-off’ job. Starting just before me at n#8 was Jenny Lloyd-Jones from London Dynamo who I knew I would only being seeing at the start, sure enough she was 2nd in the ladies event in an excellent 59 minutes 08 seconds.
This course starts with 4 miles in the SW direction tackling most of the drags, here I warmed up very quickly working really hard into the wind keeping my HR and effort very high. Then at the bottom roundabout (Holybourne), swinging 180 into the opposite direction back up the course and definitely feeling the benefit of the slight wind, I could really get my speed up to try and peg back some time.
After another 7 and a bit miles the top roundabout (Farnham) was reached, and turning back in to the wind it was an all out effort past the start point to get back to the bottom roundabout for the last time. This is definitely the toughest stretch of the course, in the 3/4 miles before that final turn it is simply a question of digging in.
At this turn I started duelling with a rider on his first lap, and this worked to my advantage as I had more than enough motivation to stay ahead until the finish. This I managed using up all my reserves, with very little left in the legs on the ride back to HQ.
This season I have stopped using my speedo, instead preferring to ride using HRM only, so I was going to have to wait to know my actual time. In the event it was worth the wait, my time of 1:03:51 is almost 2 minutes quicker than my previous best (although still modest by general standards). So I was pleased to have made the effort to come out to this course. But I need to do some work on that third leg of the course before I return !
There were 120 riders in the start sheet with very few DNS that I could see – not too surprisingly considering the good conditions. Mr Hutchinson was off n#120.
Results: 1. Richard Prebble GS Strada 51:24 2. Richard Simmmonds London Dynamo 52:04 3. James Boyman agiskoviner 52:58 4. Keith Coffey Bec CC 53:37 Ladies 1. Kirsti Robertson Severn RC 57:44 2. Jenny Lloyd-Jones London Dynamo 59:08 Tandems 1. Paul Charman & Robert Allen Farnham RC 57:33