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My first event of 2009

Yesterday I completed my first cycling event of 2009. Whilst the CCS Reliability Ride is not really a race, it is also a bit more than the Sunday club runs. Before the event I decided I would have fun and ride round with other CCS club members, but half way round that plan changed and it turned into an ‘eyes out’ dash to the finish. The morning started with driving rain and a temperature just above freezing. I headed out to the start to find the number of riders down on last year, but given the weather it’s not surprising. Still I signed up for the longer 48 mile route but opted for the slower cut off time of three and a half hours. The weather did not get any better throughout the day, in fact knowing the route I realised that the last leg home would be directly into the wind. Around the 20 mile mark we came down Semer hill, which is an 11% descent; not something seen in Suffolk very often. I started the decent on the back of the group but my fixed wheel momentum meant I soon passed the pack and onto the two lead riders; Viv and John. They however saw this passing as a challenge and increased their pace. I saw this increase in pace and raised them a few rpm. Within two miles we had dropped the rest of the group and were the only three cyclists visible on the wet country roads. The going was good with the wind behind us, it even felt like the rain had lifted. But we were still heading away from the finish. There is a slow long incline coming out of the village of Hitcham and then the road feels like it climbs all the way to Great Finborough. It was at this point I just put my head down and dug in. At first I was not trying to drop the other two, just find a good rhythm and keep momentum. When I passed into Finborourgh I looked back to see quite a gap and something inside made me push on rather than wait. Despite knowing that I was entering the return leg and a group would stand a better change in the headwind, I pressed on. When I finally turned into the wind heading back towards Lavenham and then Sudbury I was running on reserve energy levels, I had not bought any food with me as it was going to be a leisurely ride. All I had was a some water and the odd bit of road grit, a bonk was looking inevitable. At one point my vision was so blurry it was a job to see the road let alone keep a bike upright. Plus the single speed fade was wearing thin; all I wanted to do was change gear and let up a bit. Pride is a very powerful emotion and it was the only reason I did not let up. I knew my pace had dropped right off, I was waiting to hear Viv’s voice behind me as he passed. But pride kept my legs turning and I soon rolled back into the start/finish hut. I only had time for a tea and a bit of cake (I need to replenish some energy levels quickly) before Viv arrived. My time was 2hours 57minutes only three minutes ahead of Viv.