Sunday, 2 March 2014

SCA Hardriders - The Race of Truth, and the truth is...

... there is room for considerable improvement.
Having hopefully put winter behind us, today was the first chance to open our Time Trialling account for 2014. Most of us had rocked up to the Redhill a couple of weeks back only for that to be cancelled due to ice.

In a month or so the fast courses on A roads will start opening up but this is the part of the season when the Sporting Time Trial holds sway. For the uninitiated a Sporting Course is lumpy, twisty often on minor roads. The course for today was all of those things, and it earned its 'Hardriders' sobriquet. A 22.6 mile loop starting near Handcross it sets out its stall early with a half mile climb straight from the start. Nice.

The nature of time trialling means that the humdrum club rider gets to benchmark themselves with best. For today's event the field was full of members of I guess time trialling's royal family, the Yates' including the legend that is Sean Yates.

There were four members of the Old Ports lined up for this baby. Sadly Peter Gray had to pull out with a knee injury, apparently caused by over zealous intervals on the turbo trainer. So it was left to Ian Bashford, Dave Warne and myself. A cold damp morning, Bashers cold damp expression when I pulled up told me all I needed to know about his frame of mind. But signed on there would be no turning back.

It all started ok, I had set my sights low for this loosener. As Bash and I agreed this was a course for Warnie, quick on the climbs and fearless on the descents. The rain held off but there was a fair breeze taking the edge off the downhill bias of the first half.

I last rode this event in 2009, and had largely forgotten it, so I the pleasure of rediscovery. It was after 8 miles I noticed that I was feeling a bit lob sided. At first I dismissed it as some product of the cross wind. But when I look down the gear changer was at a very odd angle. My right tri bar had come loose. I thought about stopping to fix it. At that point I decided to crack on and ride on the tops, but I couldn't leave it alone because I needed to change gear. The bar was getting looser and looser, rattling away until at about 17 miles there was nothing for it but to stop and set about it will my allen key. It only cost me a couple of minutes but I kind of lost heart and limped home in what was a personal worst time of 1.15.32, narrowly avoiding the wooden spoon.

While I doubt Bash and Dave exactly enjoyed it they had a more profitable morning. Bash using his power to weight ratio to good effect on the downhill sections to romp home with a respectable 1.7.23. However the king of the castle was Dave with an excellent 1.4.22. Needless to say the Ports were not about to trouble the team prize.

The overall winner, was one of the Yates. Conall Yates to the win with an incredible 52.22. But nearly has impressive, Jesse Yates riding as a Junior completed the event inside an hour.

So, it was a start, not the one I hoped for but a start all the same. Next week I will get another, slighty larger helping at the East Surrey Hardriders.