Steve Dennis writes…
As a season “round off” (for some anyway), Paul W, Richard Woody, Alan Mac and myself headed off to Marlow to ride the Hillingdon CC 25 on Sunday morning.
I’d been talked into riding this one several weeks back by PW who said that I could be up for a “49” on a good morning.
So having got picked up at 7 O’clock by Paul and bombing around the M25/M40, we arrived with enough time to reccy the course and get to the HQ in time to see Richard and Alan before they headed off to the start.
It’s a three mile slog up the A404 to the start from the HQ so there was no need for a serious warm-up and in no time at all we too were heading that way being only 8 minutes apart.
On my way up the drag I spotted Alan RUNNING with his bike down the hill on the opposite carriageway. I just about heard him say above the din of the traffic “puncture”. I figured it would take me too long to get back to the HQ to get him a spare wheel so I had no choice but to leave him to his fate.
What I didn’t reckon on was that he was so determined to ride that he actually ran all the way back to the HQ, blagged a spare wheel and went back to the start to take a spare slot later in the field. (I later found out that he picked up the puncture a few seconds before his start time so would be allowed to start if he could get back in time and would only accrue a 5 second time penalty).
I was more fortunate with my start time and judged it perfectly arriving with three minutes to spare. (It’s one of those courses that start on a dual-carriageway and once you are at the start you have to wait for your start time or risk doing another 5 mile loop back again). Anyway, off I went and plummeted down the A404 towards the Thames and on to Maidenhead Thicket roundabout where you turn right onto the A4.
The forecasted NE wind decided to blow out of the South-West making for a tough ride out to the turn at Charvil, but was a welcome relief on the return. When you reach the A404 again, it’s pretty much downhill all the way to the finish at Marlow which is a good chance to make up any lost ground while on the lousy A4 section.
I was dreaming of that magical “49” and unfortunately it’s still a dream as I stopped the clock at 50:11. Alan, with his far-from-ideal start still managed 57:04, but that included his 5sec penalty, so he actually did a 56:59 which he was plainly chuffed to bits with. Richard still can’t quite conquer that 1 hour barrier, clocking 1:00:22, and Paul, looking forward to a bit of a lay-off after a hefty year one way and another was still a long way off his best (on this course) with 1:01:35. Still, we did manage an EGCC clean-sweep with a 1st place and the Team prize. – Just like old times!
1st Steve Dennis EGCC 50:11 (PB & new club record) 2nd Steve Golla Sigma Sport 51:39 3rd Nik Bowdler Farnborough & Camb CC 51:48 (2008 & 2009 BBAR) 4th Ray Hughes Clarence Wheelers CC 52:55 Team: EGCC (R.Woodward; A.MacInnes; S.Dennis) 2:47:37