Ben Hardisty writes…
A third and probably final visit to the Bentley course for this season on the Hounslow and District 100. Five laps of a twenty mile loop.
I was off #17 and being one of the initial set of riders was lucky with the early conditions which were pretty good, warm and not too windy. I duly posted my fastest 25 of the year in the first quarter of the ride. However it wasn’t long before the heat ramped up as did the easterly wind.
At the 50 mile mark I was still going well and on for my sub 4h30m target time. A quick stop at the car at about 65 miles allowed for a bottle change and a much needed stretch. However from the point at which I got back on the bike it all fell apart and the next 35 miles were simply horrible !
As well as the usual aches and pains my left shoulder/arm was now giving me a lot of grief – very likely in part due to the road surface on the bottom section of the course which had me riding in the middle of the road to avoid the repetitive ruts. Also there was a freshly resurfaced stretch, previously decent flat tarmac, but now covered in that stony gritty surface which councils seem to be opting for. Perfect for heavy traffic maybe but no good for skinny cycle tyres.
Finally the last lap arrived and to keep my spirits up I was repeating to myself that it was the last time on this or that bit of the course. Eventually the last little climb to the finish and I was done. There was no real feeling of elation or satisfaction that I normally get from finishing a long ride, it was more like relief, although I still had to cycle back a couple of miles to HQ and then another mile or two to the car.
Back at HQ sitting down with a cup of tea & cake looking around and chatting to the other riders confirmed that this was a bit of a sufferfest. A couple of riders were struggling from the heat and although finishing were brought back to HQ by the organisers.
I was disappointed with my ride (15 minutes down on target), but the plusses from the ride were a new PB (not difficult) and the fact that my new aero lid performed admirably in the hot conditions.
Hats off to the organisers for a very well run event. Many thanks to the guy handing out the wet sponges on the course.
The event was won by Adam Topham, from Julian Jenkinson and James Gilfillan
Never again ….although there is the SCCU event in August…
My Garmin track here