Steve Dennis writes…
You’ve probably read Richard B’s account of events on Sunday so I thought I’d better through in a few lines on the way I saw things.
Richard was obviously able to see the race unfolding before his eyes as a spectator at the Hen & Chicken pub where you see the riders pass 6 times, but as a rider it was difficult to gauge your progress when in one direction you were battling into a howling gale at 20mph (or less), and then on the return speeds of over 40 were reached.
The first time I looked at my computer was at about the 20 mile point and I was surprised to see 28.4mph average! This was probably down to the fact that the 10 previous miles between Chawton and Farnham roundabouts were covered in just over 18 minutes!
I had a bit of a tussle with a rider that I caught a bit further along the road when he kept on overtaking me again on the descents after I passed him on the drags. Fortunately he was on his last lap and was due to turn at the Holybourne roundabout leaving me to chew my lonely furrow out to Chawton again. The second return with the tail-wind was a bit slower at a tad over 19 minutes.
The only clue I had of how well I was doing regarding the other competitors was at every pass of the Hen & Chicken, Richard, Jan & Steve were jumping up and down, giving me the big thumbs-up, and I kept on thinking, there’s no way I’m in with a chance of a medal the way I’m going! Anyway, with the short leg into the wind covered again and the average hovering around the 28mph mark, it was just a case of giving it everything for the last 6 miles to the finish.
At the HQ, the result board showed that Richard had let no.100, a certain Andy Wilkinson, slip his attention and had sneaked in 49 seconds faster than me to bag the bronze medal. Oh well, 4th again!