It is a sad fact that with all the preparation and planning in the world, an events nature is very much determined by one of the variables that you can’t control. The weather.
In an ideal situation, you’d have a team of people available for an enormous period of time so you could decide to go on the day offering perfect conditions. But of course this isn’t an ideal world, and I need to arrange any time off work a reasonable margin in advance.
After committing to a date that was agreeable to the Boons (who were timing/ official observers) and John Morse( mechanic- support) I probably looked at the Met office app 2-3 daily for the preceding 2 weeks. Why I looked so often, I do not know. I recall looking at a very rosy weather forecast on the morning of a race, riding away from the house to be confronted with penetrating rain for the duration of the race. I was never going to make a final call until the day before, so probably could have forgone all that research and spent my time more constructively...
It was cold on the way to the start and after my last attempt ( with associated poor clothing choices) I was keen to make sure progress wasn't hampered by shivering. After nearly 10 years of races, it was something of a surprise to experience pre-ride nerves, i think the pressure i was putting myself under, and the doubt about whether this was actually achievable were really undermining my confidence.
When we finally arrived it was warmer than anticipated with a fairly light SE breeze which was going to mean headwind for the first leg but (hopefully) tailwind as far as Wadebridge.
Progress was good, with my newly revised fuelling strategy meaning i really needed to keep on top for timings with so much climbing done in the first 30miles. I had average speed on display so was delighted that it was hovering around target speed despite the arduous climbing, though it was certain that the tailwind that was helping with the momentum.
I managed to get through Liskeard without having to slow down but was somewhat bemused by the Car driving along the downhill ACCELERATION lane to join A38 at 30mph. I would have bagged another KoM there.. just saying.
It felt slightly disappointing to arrive back in Bodmin but still having 100 miles to go, but I was glad to be back onto familiar territory. I had launched a pop-quiz from fellow Bodminions about the best way from one side to the other, but with roadworks on one side & the standard traffic associated with the sprawling Metropolis meant that the 2 low climbing options were going to incur significant time penalties, it was decided that straight through the middle and up over the Beacon was likely to be quickest option. What I'd not banked on was an eternity waiting for traffic to clear at the roundabouts, though this did pass and that frustration helped fuel me up the last hard climb before the quick descent to Wadebridge, if there is a god, he was certainly smiling on me that day, as the cross- tailwind that head helped me from Tavistock, continued to help me when my direction swung around to North Easterly.
Theres not much else to say. gel, wee, Gel, drink, gel gel.
I was still up on schedule by the time i got to Bideford, though an oversight on the fuelling front (the kilo of fruitcake i'd lovingly prepared had been forgotten so i was running entirely on gel) had meant I was not consuming quite as many calories as i was going to need for the long climb from sea level up back up to the finish.
The last 30-40 mins were purgatory, I wasn't sure (in KM) how far i had left to go. I skipped a gel as i thought i was going to finish sooner than i did, and by the time i realised i wasn't going to finish as quick, I didn't know if there was any point in taking it. I convinced myself that the standard was not going to be beaten, but i did need to finish to be albe to get a lift home. the false flats seemed endless until i finally passed Fowley Cross- the Turn for the Tavistock Wheelers 25 that was less than a mile...
and so it was. I ride i was disappointed with, but could have gone a lot worse. and even if everything had gone well, if the wind gods been less favourable...
Over to you record takers, dream breakers and tear makers