A short warm up soon enough exposed the conditions: windy. True to its fenland setting, Eurus was out in force, meaning that the out and back course would be very distinctly split into a race of two halves: headwind out, tailwind back. This was advantageous for more than the simple reason of fatigue, as at the midpoint of the course between the start/finish and the roundabout a nauseating bridge appears. Outwards, it hits hard, a sudden rise to struggle up after completing the first two miles flat out. The ‘descent’ on the other side is hardly noticeable – a paltry false flat on which one must put in another effort to regain speed after the brutally short ascent. The tailwind made it inevitable that on the return stretch the riders would be able to storm along, akin to fair Siegfried up the Rhine.
The conditions proved tougher than expected to all three riders. Ryan, hooligan-esque, sped along in a van doing a course recce, shouting encouragement complete with wild arm gestures on his way. The ascent over the A14 proved to be as demoralizing as ever, and the exposure on the other side even worse. Upon approach to the roundabout, where the road surface worsens significantly, the bowl of courage that had been consumed for breakfast was regurgitated, and used to maximal effect for the second half. At the descent off the bridge for the final 2 miles, tunnel vision kicked in, and the request at the start that riders keep their heads up was gracefully ignored. Jens Voigt’s usual advice came to mind, and, soon enough, the pain was able to start subsiding.
After an anxious wait, the results came in. Ryan came an impressive 26th in a with 22:53, Chris, er, 64th with 26:02 (albeit a satisfying personal best), and Judith finished an incredible 11th in the closely run women’s race, with a time of 26:10 – even more impressive when this was her first time trial!
Thanks to Mat for organising.
(This was written on a mac, whilst the author was wearing small, round glasses, tight jeans, and was sittingin his local independent coffee shop. Apologies are offered to anyone who has ever written for Rouleur.)
Words by Chris Brasnett