The forecast was rain and wind, even worse it was a side windthroughout!
However this did not stop our Bristol timetriallists making their way to Cumnor, yet another peculiar named place that these time trials frequent, in Oxfordshire on the out and back course of the H25/17. The strava kom was 54:28 before the event started, was this time to crumble?
The forecasts looked to be correct, the clouds teasing us with the always imminent possibility of rain, and a formidable side wind throughout. At least unlike the 10 mile TT the race wasn’t quite split into two such distinct halves, but instead a continuous struggle for speed. The courses profile did not seem too difficult, a descent for the first few miles, followed by a continuous gradual climb to the half-way point, to which caused a descent into the final few miles up to the finish. All riders seemed wary of the challenge that lay out ahead, for 25 miles all out is never going to be comfortable!
Our Bristol riders were only a minority compared to the huge teams that Loughborough and Cambridge bought, but were by no means uncountable for. Our start list went as follows, Judith at 11:36, Me (Ryan) at 13:01 and Ben Alexander at 13:32.
With Judith on the course I was starting to feel nervous, this was my first 25 miles in well over a year! Sight on Ben on his dad’s Argon 18 only worsened my worrying due to the free speed such a bike brings. I made it to the start line with only a minor warm up, down the road and back, next thing before I realise I am at the start line. I’m off and find myself flying rather easily, the trees are blocking the side wind for a rather more comfortable experience, with the odd break in the trees gusting me sideward into the road. ‘Surely the kom won’t still stand by the end of today?’ I’m thinking. I make the 12.5 mile halfway marker in 28:09, on begin my trek to the finish line. Catching sight of Ben on the way back spurred me to fight the pain of my screaming legs, to finish in a new 25 mile PB: 56:11, surprising myself.
At the HQ I see Judith has put in a mammoth ride, 1:07:28, good enough for a very impressive 14th place in the woman’s category, surely good things are to come, with this only her 2ndTT. Further inspections and I find myself currently in 10thplace, however I knew this was not to last with riders like Edmund Bradbury hitting the course very soon. Bens time is yet to be posted, so I find myself waiting to ask him upon his return, 1:00:34, ever so tantalisingly close to the formidable hour, but with no doubt is he capable of faster with his ever so relaxed facial expressions in the race photos! (He can’t be allowed to enjoy himself!)
Final results found myself in 17th and Ben 53rd, with the winner Harry Bulstode of Edinburgh finishing in a time of a truly ‘Cancellara’ like 52:05 and second to Edmund Bradbury in 52:20, Mr.Bultrode had well and truly taking the most important prize of them all, the Strava kom!.
A good days racing all round, but now the desire to race next year for even better results!
Words by Ryan ‘Cancellara’ Witchell