The build up to the first race of the season was not the best I have had before. I managed to get two chest infections within a space of a month. This put my training back a couple of weeks, which was an important time due to the build up of the race program.
I had been training on the course a number of times as part of my program, but I was not aware that the last part of the course had been changed until the day before. I was asked to try out this new section by the race organisers to see if a Handbike could make the very tight left turn down a steep ramp and the a very tight right turn which joins the river bank ( If you missed the right turn at the bottom you would end up in the river). I gave this section of the course the all clear, but there was no room for mistakes and you had to slow down a lot.
On the morning of the race my stomach was not too good as I was still on a course of antibiotics for the second chest infection. I got the bike ready and got on the bike to start my warm-up, which was needed as it, was bitter cold and strong wind with gusts of 27mph. The warm-up bit not go to plan as I was sick on the bike and could not stop coughing my guts-up. I sat on the start line with 5 minutes to the start chatting with the other riders. The countdown started, and of we all went, the first lap around the town centre is always a steady one due to lots of very tight turns. Its really so the crowd can see all the riders before it really picks up the pace, we cross the start/finish line again and the speed picks up as we make our way out of the town.
I lead the riders out (same every year as know one wants to take the front) I increase the pace instantly and can feel the other riders breathing down my neck. We get to the first of the hills, which is along climb; I put the power down and work as hard as I can because this part of the race decides the winner. As I go over the top I managed to drop the other riders and made a gap of over 20 yards. I picked up the speed and the gap got bigger until the other riders were not insight anymore. Now it was just me and the two lead rides (Shaun and Dave from Mammoth lifestyle) on road bikes making sure the way was clear and hazard free.
The wind was very strong in parts, with lots of cross winds making it hard to stay in a hard gear and maintain the pace. Towards the end of the race along the riverbank I had a slight problem, a big fat dog was blocking the entire path and would not move. This caused my to slow down a lot as the only place for me to move was left taking me in the river! Shaun managed to move the dog (with force) as the owner decided not to help in anyway. I was on the final section taking me back into the town centre, I took the final left hand bend to the finish line lucked up and in front of me was a wall of people. A lot of shouting went on as I approached the finish line, but I still had to slow down to prevent any accidents. This has not happened before, and due to my speed over the course I don’t think they were ready for me at the finish this year. As you may guess I came first with a time of 46:12, about 4 minutes ahead of the next rider.