Friday, 18 April 2014

Crawley Wheelers Sporting 41.59 - Back to sparrow's fart

With British Summer time now locked in, its goodbye to post 9am start times for us Testers, and a return to leaving home while loved ones are still tucked up in bed. I recall a TT in Horsham a few years back when during my warm up I found myself racing an owl. In truth I didn't mind the early get away today, it meant I would be safely on my way before my fellow City dwellers started storming towards the coast for bank holiday fun and games.

Anyway, this course, the GS/196 was a new one on me. When I mentioned it to James Stone of Brighton Excelsior (something of a Guru on all things cycling as far as  I am concerned) I got a laugh and a wry smile. The main benefit of doing a 41 mile time trial is that it makes 25 mile TT's feel shorter, and 'sporting' designation for this one told me I was not in for a moral boosting fast time. Despite the sun, it was a chilly start, with envious glances being cast towards those with the foresight to pack full finger gloves and knee warmers.

Starting from Handcross it opens with a long section with a fast downhill bias, building lots of baseless confidence. It levels out, but while there a few sections where on can push a big gear and get a nice rhythm this are the exception. Lots of short rises to stop you getting to comfortable. But the real sting is in the tail, and the tail is about 8 miles long and very stingy. As Dave Churchill of Bigfoot said, 'I was on hour pace after 40km.' Erm yes. Because all that lovely fast descent at the start has to be paid for with a long drag uphill into a headwind at the end. That chequered flag just never seemed to what to appear and time ticked by.

I came in with at 1.57.48, which I was pretty happy with as had been able to go the distance without dropping off in the final 10 . Dave C wasn't thrilled with his 1.50.09, noting dryly that if he had done a personal best he'd have an excuse to never come back. But as he as entered a lumpy little TT around Devil's Dyke on Monday, I suspect he is made of sterner stuff.

The winner was the ever marvellous Steve Dennis with a 1.37.12, an excellent performance on genuinely testing sporting course. Have to say a big that you to Stuart Nisbett and his team from Crawley Wheelers for putting on a fine event. It is a tricky course and the marshalling was universally excellent.