Having spent hours training and perfecting their bike set up, cyclists don’t like to admit that their personal best times often have much to do with course choice and the weather. Yesterday, PBs fell up and down the country on a still, sunny day which was ideal for riding bikes. The Shaftesbury CC 10, held on the E2/10 near Cambridge, attracted a superfast field of 120 riders, half of whom ended the day going faster than they had done in the previous 3 years.
I didn’t quite know what to expect, having not ridden this course before, but I did make sure I was well-hydrated and warmed up before starting. Once onto the dual carriageway, it was straight into a 26.5-28.5mph cruising speed. Even on the few uphill bits, I didn’t go below 23.5mph. I’ve never known 10 miles to pass so quickly and this was one of the most comfortable races I’ve done, despite the heat. As I approached the finish I checked the clock: I was well on for a new personal best, the question was by how much. Knuckled down, and crossed the line in 21:50, knocking 51 seconds off my previous best effort. Afterwards was fairly shocked that this constitutes an average speed of 27.4mph! My mum’s Clio doesn’t go that fast. Had a bacon sandwich to celebrate, then, as ever, went to catch the train home.
It’s been a while since I last recorded a personal best – last August in fact – and I was beginning to think I was going backwards rather than forwards (which, I guess, would be an impressive feat on a bicycle). The quality of the field meant I finished 56th out of 120, the event was won by Michael Hutchinson who did an incredible 18:26, the fifth fastest 10 time since 1998, and a new course record. Though that is a superhuman effort, I was left wondering what I could’ve done with a proper TT set up. Can’t be many months away now!