Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bilge in July

I have to say that this blog has deteriorated since its launch in 2004. The bilge was far more entertaining then, even if it was still mostly about bike races. Even I laughed. To be or not to be, that is the question.

</soliloquy of bilge>

With that out of the way, I must needs update the world on the weather around these 'ere parts.

In short, it's raining again. Just like most of last year, followed by winter, spring and then the alleged summer this year. I've started keeping track of the Days It Rains and at current count, it's 19 of the last 23.

Amazingly, it didn't rain much yesterday (Tuesday), it was merely very windy. Why was this important? It wasn't really, except it made the Dursley 25.1 miler - the ninth event in the Hardriders series - slightly more pleasant. Not much, mind, as the course is a bit soul destroying. It was nearly two laps of a triangular circuit around Didmarton, starting with a fast, slightly downhill bit through Westonbirt, followed by a 5km uphill drag on rough roads up to the A46, then a real slog along that (not much in the way of smooth tarmac) back to the start. 330m of climbing/300m descent and the wind was behind us for the first bit but against/across us for the other two legs. I recced the course in similar conditions on Saturday in 1hr07, going hard but not flat out, with no aero kit. On the basis of that I thought something around 57-58 min was doable.

It was a small field but most of the top riders in the series were there: Gavin P, David K, Derek S and my clubmates Ben and Simon. Gavin set the course record last year at 56'24, but said he did it in ideal conditions. That gave me something else to aim at.

As it turned out, I did my best TT of the year. I got around in 56'49 at an average of 335W, nearly 20W higher than I did for the 'fast' U46B 25 mile course in June, but nearly 5min slower! Gavin finished second at 41 seconds, so it was more convincing than any of my previous wins over him, which have been by <10 seconds. Ben, who got his first category licence on the weekend, was third at 1'44, just ahead of David Kiddell. Only one other rider broke the hour. Simon did a 1:02 so we were comfortably home for the team prize.

© Andy Sexton (with permission)

That tips the Hardriders series well in my favour now, although it's not quite over. I have five wins and one second, Gav has three wins and three seconds. He's unlikely to ride the next event in August but said he'll try to get fit for the last two in October. But if I win one more, then there's no way he can overhaul me. And once Ben does his sixth event, we should comfortably win the team trophy, which would be cool.

Including club races, I've actually won four TTs in a row (nine for the year), so I guess all the miles I did in June didn't hurt.

Ma and Pa expected for weekend Visitation. If we're really lucky it'll stop raining.

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