Paul Winkley writes…
Drive 50 miles to ride up and down a bit of busy dual carriageway? – not a chance!
But in a year things change and I’ve actually begun to see the attraction of time trialing, and with one last ‘throw of the dice’ this season Ben Houston had recommended the H25/2 in Buckinghamshire.
My mission; to get under the hour for the first time since 1998.
I didn’t know this course and that bothered me. So with some help of Steve D’s Memory Map programme to plot the course OS Style, Google Earth, and an early start to drive the course I set out at 6.30 for a 9.33 start time.
The course starts on the A404 just down from the Handy Cross roundabout off the M40 and drops down to the Thames, then climbs up to Maidenhead before turning right on the A4 towards Reading and turning at a place called Sonning. You then retrace but only as far as Marlow, meaning, an almost 2 mile ‘gift start’ which you ride down at 40+mph!
The course is best described as ‘rolling’, and if you think the road surface on the A22 courses are bad you should see this!
I noticed when the start sheet came through that I was not the only ‘Grinnie on it and would have the company of Brian Phillips. This year he has swapped his familiar fixed wheel for gears, and what gears they are – sporting a very nice top of the range Trek Equinox TT bike!
Brian, off number 20, took the early lead on the results board with a storming 52.57. I was off 63 – the problem with this course is timing your arrival at the start. It’s on dual carriageway and once there you’re stuck till you start. I arrived 20 minutes early!
But no matter, with plenty of time to warm up down hill from the start – consequently it took 20 minutes to get going! The homework though really paid off as I always knew roughly were I was and managed to avoid all the road kill and pot holes to get round in 58.38 – mission accomplished!
An all time PB and great end to the season.
The event was won by Danny Axford – Shorter Rochford CC in 50.01 and it was he that had his head in his hands in the changing room after, I was grinning like a ‘Cheshire Cat’.