Rob Dickson writes:
Picking up Ben and his new ‘Planet X’ TT bike at 6:30am, I was pleased to note that after a glorious spring week, the weather had not completely reverted to winter as promised by the forecast.
Mike had ‘kindly’ volunteered (still not quite sure why!) to tow me round the 25.8 mile GS 990 course, and to be honest my concerns at the likelihood of me spoiling his day had not been completely put at ease by receiving an emailed report of his 64 mile, 21mph average speed reconnaissance ride on Friday, which included a lap of the course.
Due off at 8:06am (4 mins before the Hardisty / Woodward pairing), I was however able to make a blistering start, and with confidence rising rapidly I set off towards Fontwell. Unfortunately, I faded horribly after approximately 150m, and was never seen on the front again.
On the climb after the Arun I was able to practice further my ‘ease up’ shout, which was to come in handy on several occasions on the rest of the route. Notwithstanding this, it was still a nice feeling to catch our two minute men on the incline.
After about 10 miles of riding more or less individually, on the flatter dual carriageway sections I was at last able to find some sort of rhythm, and held Mike’s patient wheel with some sort of consistency, occasionally at speeds approaching 30mph. The wheel was however normally lost on any sort of gradient, with the drag up Long Furlong proving particularly troublesome in the buffeting cross winds.
After a slow 1hr and 16mins we were home, allowing Mike to grab his camera only just before Ben and Richard crossed the line (approximately 2 minutes faster than us), somewhat spoiling the shot. To be honest, if I had been in Mike’s shoes I may well have said ‘I’ll see you later’ on Long Furlong, which would have allowed him better time to prepare for the photography bit – so thanks again for his patience (especially as I must have cost him about 10 minutes relative to what he could have done on his own!)
Later in the day, still concerned at my inadequacies relative to the athlete that is the average club cyclist, I felt a smug glow returning when I decided instead to compare myself to the typical man in the 21st Century British street. Even if he did have the inclination to get up 4hrs earlier than usual on a Sunday, and put down his crisps and Gameboy for a couple of hours to take part in a similar event, I suspect he would most likely need hospital treatment and a drip to recover from the experience before making a safe return to the sofa.
I also reminded myself that actually you are basically competing against yourself, and that this early season venture will be useful preparation to attempt to improve my ‘evening ten’ times in the summer.
So, thanks again to Mike for the experience, who I am pleased to report will be more suitably partnered by Steve Dennis on his next ‘2 Up’ outing.
As you will read elsewhere, for the record Steve finished in 1st place in a superb time of 58:41 with his partner Stewart Jardine of 21st century Airports CT, with the Bashford pairing completing EGCC’s entries in a time of 01:10:12 for 10th place.
Overall 1st S Jardine & S Dennis 58:41 2nd M Coyle & R Smith, VC Etoile 59:37 3rd D Pollard & C Yates InGear QuickVit 1:01:02 4th D Shepherd & J Glaysher 1:01:59 5th S Morgan & N Morgan Tooting BC 1:02:32 1st Ladies A Burt & V Richmond Twickenham CC 1:14:24 1st mixed S Farmer & A Hart Team Axiom 1:12:45 1st mixed vets D Evers & P Baker Lewes Wdrs 1:23:05 1st vets (std) D Pollard & C Yates, +8:31 Steve and Stewart were 20 secs off the course record EGCC Anton & Dickson 1:16:22 (23rd) Hardisty & Woodward 1:14:15 (16th) Team Bashford 1:10:12 (10th)