It was a beautiful day, and I set off full of anticipation/trepidation for deepest Hampshire and my first race of the season.
Thruxton circuit is 2.5miles long (well , kinda round with wiggley bits) and flatish with a long, slow rise . Interestingly, there didn’t seem to be any compensatory downhill part to the course.
There were 16 of us women – a bus load from Twickenham, a couple of London Dynamos, and a few from local clubs.
With my legs all scarred and scabby (I had been done over by the Gregarios in Majorca) and my ripped racing pants, I think I looked the part.
We set off at a very gentle pace and I was able to catch up on all the goss. It was like a cocktail party on wheels.
I think we had done one lap when I noticed that a girl had gone off the front. She seemed to hover about 50 yards off the front for ages before she started to extend her lead. We were still tootling along at about 20mph. I nipped up to the front smartish and asked the Twickers girls who it was . Bugger ! the worst news! Super-fit tri-athlete Natalie (Twickenham). ‘Well aren’t you going after her?’ I demanded, incredulously. ‘No, she’s too quick for us.’
Double bugger. ‘Well , I suppose I’d better have a go then.’
Off I went. It took me almost a whole lap to catch her: she was motoring along. I think the bunch had opened a bottle of wine and were passing round the vol au vents because there was no sight of them . Fortunately, Natalie wasn’t taking the shortest route round the circuit. She slowed up for me a bit too when she saw I was flagging. Once on her tail, we agreed to a 2-up. I should have stayed on her tail until I’d recovered properly because I could not maintain her pace, so she went on ahead of me.
By lap 8 I was pretty tired and I kept looking over my shoulder expecting to see the bunch bearing down on me.
I could see them behind the mens race, not that far away. I gathered myself and put my toe down – I couldn’t afford to get caught – there was no sprint left in me, and I didn’t want all my efforts to be wasted.
So… basically, Natalie and I did a 22.5mile TT, half a mile apart (the distance stayed fairly steady), and the bunch came in about 30s behind me.
I copped a tenner, and we all had a very nice day