Steve Dennis writes…
In a slight improvement to last year’s transport arrangements, we managed to get three riders over to Bentley in 2 cars.
Paul Blackmore, Richard Woodward and myself entered the Houndslow & District CC 25 on the (sort of) fast H25/8 Farnham – Hollybourne course in north Hampshire on Sunday.
Due to the postal dispute, I never did receive a start sheet so I phoned the event organiser on Friday evening to find out our start times. He then tells me that because of roadworks at the Farnham end of the course, we were going to have to use an alternative version that carries on further south-west, turns and comes back again once instead of the usual, shorter 2-lap version.
When I drew the route on my Memory Map software, I discovered to my horror that there were two 400ft climbs to tackle en route. No wonder this version only gets used in emergencies!
There were 70 solos and 4 tandems on the start sheet with Richard being the 1st of us off at 09:23 (no.83). The morning was mild with a strengthening NE wind to contend with on the return. PB was off next at no.95 with me off no.110. Scratch-man no.120 Lee Turner was a non-starter, I later found out due to a crash the previous day in a 10 mile event.
After starting there was a fast section to the first roundabout where you went straight on in this version onto another section of dual-carriageway (with even worse road surface), before another rbt and then start the climb. At this point a tractor passed me and dropped me pretty quick too.
Over the top and through a fairly large village on the decent – pretty scary trying to dodge Sunday morning traffic at 45mph! Soon after that you reach the turn and have to climb back up again (much slower!). That and the headwind made for a much more sedate return. Eventually the finish line is crossed, and for me it’s a 53:25. Definitely slower than the other course I thought. Time to see what the others had done.
Back at the result board, it transpired that Richard had done a (slower-than-usual) 1:06:59. Paul (taking time-out from his fairly successful triathlon programme), did a 1:01:17. My time was fastest by 2 and a half minutes. – Another win. We won the team too. Not bad!
1st S Dennis EGCC 53:25 2nd G Stirzaker a3crg 55:58 3rd B Molloy Epsom 57:46