Ed Packard joined the WCC last month. A keen cyclist and expert blogger (see his blog http://omcoc.blogspot.com), Ed has thrown him self in the the Willesden way, riding our events, attending club meeting and writing articles for the blog. Here is his report on his busy weekend of time trialling. M.B.
photo courtesy of DGS Photography http://www.dgs-photography.co.uk
In a rather foolhardy endeavour to prove my mettle to the Willesden (which has kindly taken me under its big green wing for 2007) I opted to enter a couple of hardriders time trials, which I have completed over the past few weekends.
First up was a breezy day with occasional rain and clear spells out in the fenlands: the notorious Ely ‘hairdryers’ 25.2 mile time trial (the 0.2 miles arbitrarily bolted on, I presume, to differentiate it from all those ‘easy’ 25 mile courses – one rider, Merv Player, took a 7 mile detour in a possibly pre-meditated attempt to clinch the lanterne rouge).I’ve done the course a couple of times before, and knew what to expect: a fair few twisty-turny bits, some drags, dampness and the ubiquitous wind
Set out at a good pace, which gradually diminished as the race went on and bits of me started to go numb with cold and pain. I managed a 1:10:27 which put me 20th out of 37 finishers. One rider was knocked off his bike by somebody pulling out of their driveway… the overall winner Sam Baker completed the course in something like 56 minutes, shattering the record and putting my own feeble efforts in perspective – he also didn’t seem to have the same issues with walking as I did after the race. Still, my time was good enough to earn a tenner for winning my handicap group, which represent my first cash winnings on a bike. This is also my best time on the Ely course to date – possibly my performance was inspired by the residual fear from having to catch a train from the bleak environs of Finsbury Park station just as the sun was coming up.
Trains presented another problem when trying to get to the a3crg 10 mile hardriders (but not really a hardriders because they had to move the course onto the dual carriageway). The HQ was in Liss: but Liss station was closed owing to engineering. Hence a train out to Alton, where I bought a sandwich and chatted to a group of Newbury CC cyclists on a jaunt out to Arundel and back. I then had a 10 mile ride out to Liss through some quite beautiful Hampshire scenery: passing Jane Austen’s house amongst other things. So, given the ride from Ealing to Waterloo and then Alton to Liss, I was quite warmed up by the time I started the ride.Although a dual carriageway course, it was a bit draggy on the way out and there was a fairly draining headwind. Nonetheless, clad in my recently-acquired Willesden skinsuit (bought from a mysterious man with a large leather suitcase in a dodgy backstreet shed in darkest Wembley), and with a lower position on my bike, I managed a 24:43, which is my second fastest 10 mile time, only 37 seconds off my PB. This was good enough for another 20th place (out of 47 finishers)
Although both the 25 and 10 hurt, they were good fun, with the atmosphere at the a3crg being notably good natured. And excellent cake at both of them.