Rainy and windswept is the polite way of describing the weather for my first TT of the season, and I was already questioning my choice of wind-catching deep-section wheels as I rode to the start with clubmate Gareth (who fancied a change from all the drafting he normally gets to do when road racing).
We were also joined on the start list by Ady T (racing for a 2nd consecutive day), Mark M (on a 'normal' bike) & Dave W (sensibly wearing wet-weather clothing) meaning a good proportion of the 26 starters would be flying SNCC colours. The course is two-and-a-bit laps of a 10-mile sporting course www.strava.com/segments/6867469 and although it featured a fair bit of elevation change it was the battering wind which presented the biggest challenge. A dual-carriageway drag-strip it certainly isn't. (Photo shows the dreadful conditions with Ady preparing for the off.)
I was so cold I was happy to take an early number so I could get some warmer clothes back on asap; so starting in what felt like the sort of conditions that would have had Captain Oates telling his fellow riders he was "Just going for a ride and may be some time" I tried to get up to my FVT (Functional Vomit Threshold) as quickly as I could, and then hang on for as long as I could.
My first lap was completed in 25 minutes, which hopefully had me more than on course to break the hour target I'd set myself. The second lap was a bit slower, partly because although it had (almost?) stopped raining, the wind seemed to have got even stronger, but probably mostly because I blowing out my backside by this stage (think Hargrave Hill for anyone who has seen me on the ChainGang)
I stopped the clock just under 54 mins and then waited to see how that would measure-up against everyone else. To my astonishment it was towards the competitive end of things as I ended up fastest on the day; with Ady 45 secs back in 4th place (although missing out on 2nd by a whisker) in his second race of the weekend, Mark M 8th (fastest road bike, beating Gareth by 30 secs) in just over the hour and Dave riding well to 17th.
Thanks not only to all the organisers, starters & timekeepers but also to Tony S for cheering us on when it would have made much more sense to be inside somewhere warm & dry.
Not long now until the start of our club TT season in a few weeks time; hopefully see you there.............