The second club 10 of the year. 13°C shouldn't feel that cold, but with a Northeasterly wind blowing it felt perishing cold!
I made sure to set off for a decent length warm up before my start time but even so I was only just starting to feel warm by the time I reached the start line where some young helpers were doing a great job of piling up discarded jerseys and gilets. As I pulled up at the start I discovered that Adam Wild was starting a minute behind me... I would consider it a victory to get much past the first turn at Kirkley Hall before getting caught.
I still haven't got my line right through the first gentle bend off the start line - the surface is quite bumpy due to years of roadworks there and despite keeping well out into the road I'm finding myself very off-balance.
A Northeasterly wind is considered to be the fastest wind direction for this course, but it certainly doesn't help for the leg to Kirkley Hall. That said, I felt I was riding Ok and was past the left hand bend by the cricket club when Adam came past. That is just 2.8 miles into the course, so more than 20 seconds a mile faster than me. It didn't feel like he was riding that fast, but things can be deceptive and he soon vanished from sight - I had two riders in sight up the hill into Ogle and he wasn't one of them!
The benefit of this wind direction is felt on the lane from Ogle up towards Belsay - it doesn't make it feel any easier, you just go faster! Strava shows a PR for this stretch with a fairly respectable average speed of 23.3 mph. At the top of the hill I had just reeled Keith Sibbald in for a minute and got a clear run through the turn onto the main road.
I was determined not to make the mistake of two weeks earlier when I had ridden through a deformed part of the road surface and accidentally changed gear onto the small chainring. I reckoned that with Adam past me there could only be one other rider in the field could catch me for two minutes so should be safe to pull right out into the road around the potholes... it wasn't long after that I found out that Tom Hutchinson had indeed started two minutes behind me as he cruised past towards the Highlander.
The main road section wasn't as fast as the last race, but was still pretty quick. I avoided the holes at the finish of the 25 course and made a decent final effort to the line.
My time of 24:34 was 19 seconds slower than two weeks previous whereas most riders had gone a little quicker. A 70 mile ride around the Yorkshire Dales the day before wasn't the best preparation, so in the circumstances I think it was a reasonable result - anything starting with a 24 isn't bad on this course.