St Neots Cycling Club’s 2013 Time Trial season got underway on the evening of 25 April, with some very welcome spring sunshine tempting a very impressive turnout of 26 riders to contest the first event of the season (which runs every Thursday evening from April to September over a sporting 11.2 mile course).
The field included a number of TT debutants, as well as welcoming back many familiar faces.
There was no shortage of shiny new equipment on show, but cards were being kept very close to chests with the usual excuses being traded before the event had even started (injury, illness, broken bikes, razor burn, etc).
When racing got underway, a stiff WNW breeze meant for a tough opening section through Abbotsley village and up the rise to the power station turn. Once at the top of the course on the double bends past the golf course, some much welcomed wind assistance ensured that some of the time lost early on was clawed back as the riders continued towards the Gamlingay Cinques before heading south and attacking what is traditionally the quickest part of the course through Waresley to the staggered crossroads between Abbotsley and the Gransdens. The final left turn ensured that the riders had a tough final mile to the finish, straight into the teeth of the headwind they had battled at the start.
Richard Hancock continued in the same form with which he finished the 2012 season and, with a very impressive 26.12, was almost 2 minutes ahead of the next rider. Tom Stead finished 2nd with an excellent 28.10, a time only 20 seconds outside his 2012 season’s best, while Tim Pennell, took 3rd place with an impressive 28.26.
On this undulating (read “tough!”) 11.2 mile course, beating 30 minutes is seen as the benchmark of a very good ride and seven riders managed to do so, with Adrian Taverna’s handiwork with a razor obviously helping him achieve an aerodynamic advantage and shave 9 important seconds from the half hour mark. Paul Davies was unlucky to puncture and did not post a time but all other riders came in under 40 minutes, in what was a tremendous season opener.