Warrington RC 4UP

Well following my first open Time Trial, a week later I was lining up again this time for a 25 mile 4UP Time Trial promoted by Warrington RC.

I hadn't ridden a 25 before and was sceptical that I could last the distance at Time Trial pace. I was also in a team of strong riders with the experienced Richard Munro, Pete Williams and Nigel Woods. I also didn't want to let them down, although the time is taken from the third man you don't want to be one man down too early on as you don't have as much rest and also in case of punctures.

The course was the J2/9, which starts just outside Jodrell Bank, into Chelford, down Seven Sisters Lane, along the A50 past Mangoletsi car garage, through Allostock all the way to Twemlow Lane, through Goostrey before heading all the way back up to Chelford, following the same route to finish outside Mangoletsi car garage.

Weaver Valley had also entered another, faster, team who were starting after us so we were expecting to see them round the course!

As the HQ we discussed our tactics. The tactics were one minute on the front before rotating round, no bravado, shout up and if you're struggling the team would take half a rev. We would all finish together.

As we lined up ready to go outside Jodrell Bank, it went pitch black and the heavens opened. And I mean opened. I have never seen so much rain fall in such little time. It was unbelievable. Riding along the roads instantly flooded. I was to find out later that over a month's worth of rain fell that evening.

We set off at a good pace and we were instantly working well together. Nigel did a brilliant job in motivating and shouting the turns. We owed a lot to Nigel that night. The team spirit was brilliant, constantly looking after each other and shouting each other on. But the weather, the weather was just madness. Following the rider's wheel in-front, spray poured into your face, cars passing the opposite way threw waves of water over you. As we started the second lap so much water was pouring down my front that it washed my contact lenses out leaving me to literally follow the red flashing light of the rider in front. My eyes were stinging badly.

To be honest, I was annoyed with myself afterwards as I had allowed it to play on my mind. I didn't have my mind 100% on the race. I was conscious of the conditions, the cars passing by and whether I could last the distance. Looking back I would in future lock all that out but now I was just keeping going.

We finished strongly, we did a great stretch along the back of Goostrey up to Jodrell Bank and again through Chelford. We eventually finished with a time of 1.05.34 which would place us 14th out of 30 starters. 15 of which failed to finished, including our other team who had a torrid time with punctures and suffering with the cold. Two lads even got lost and punctured again getting back to the HQ. It was just one of those nights.

Despite everything I was really pleased with the result. There were points where I knew I could have dug deeper on my turn rather than trying to wash stinging grit out of my eyes. I couldn't have worked much harder, my average heart rate for the race was 185bpm, peaking at 195bpm at points. I may have slowed the others down, they would have liked to have gone into 3 minutes, but I believe with better conditions and now having done a 25 I could help them do that.

Hopefully we can team up again, thanks to Rich, Pete and especially Nigel for their efforts. It was one to remember!

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