Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Codebreaker

This Sunday I decided to ride Race Timings MK Sportive the 'Codebreaker'. I hadn't officially entered and paid the twenty five quid, but knew an old acquaintance was riding so I thought I'd join him. Actually Nathan was riding the 100 mile version known as the 'Colussus'. With him that day was a NBRC clubmate and fellow LBRCC rider Jase. Actually Jase was just along for the ride like myself.
So after sleeping off the previous days Hell of the North, I awoke to a wet and windy day. Car loaded and wet  gear packed I set off to meet my days fellow riders. Once at the start it was obvious that the rain had 'forced' most of the paid up entrants to stay at home. So imagine how pleased I was to see Laura and Russell from the club turn up to ride, making it an unofficial four club members riding.
So to the start, being an interloper I set off in the second group. We gingerly rode out of the estate surrounding the event HQ and once onto open roads we wound up the speed. My opinion of sportive riders went up a bit at that point, but it wasn't long before I was loudly tutting and shaking my head in true chairman style at some of the poor technique I witnessed. I was also concerned that the pace was too high for Nathans 100 mile ride, but no one was ever going to listen.
Then came the first hill, the Three Locks. As I suspected everyone shot past me, then they got slower and slower and started to weave with rear mechs crunching desperately trying to find the right gear too late.
Over the top and into 53 and head down. I'm not in this to do well so lets see who want's to sit on my wheel. I've just got three behind me. I tow them from Brickhill to Woburn, but keep the pace up and they drop off on the climb through the Deer Park.
I'm now totally on my own and wonder if I'm actually on the right route, but I see yellow markers confirming I am at every junction. I'm on my own for roughly fifteen more miles until I notice a rider bearing down. I see his fancy yellow Mavic shoes and recognize him from the start. He doesn't pass and we ride to the half way point together. Our computers at that point record a staggering 23mph average, but soon we are to find out why.
As we turn we head into a fierce headwind and driving rain. We ride together a little longer before his youth takes it's advantage and he eases away. Looking down at my computer it says 13 mph and I'm pushing hard!
I keep yellow Mavics in my sight for another twenty miles before I loose sight of him. These last miles are now purgatory I can't see a soul. I'm wondering how Laura and Russell are doing, I remember Lauras smile at the start and hope she is still wearing it.
Still no one, yet I'm on track as the yellow markers are still there. Then with about six miles to go two Putney Town Rowing Club riders go flying past in good formation. There's no chance of a wheel there, but it was nice to see another human.
Four miles left and I pass a rider I saw going hell for leather at the start. I tut tut at him, but offer my wheel though he can't hold it and seems to go backwards.
Then out of nowhere the finish appears. I'm deeply worried by the lack of bikes at the finish, have they all finished and gone home? Then I see a big bloke, not being very PC I wonder how he beat me but a quick chat gives me the answer. Somehow he has only ridden 52 miles compared to my 64.9 miles. I also shake hands with the two Putney riders and share hot chocolate and cadbury Creme eggs with them.
I did want to wait and see my clubmates back, but I'm soaked to the skin and getting cold so head off for home.
Back to today and I find out that Nathan did manage the full 100 miles. Jase couldn't resist going home at sixty miles after the ride went right past his front door. And the best news is that Laura and Russell also finished the full 100km route. Though Russell being a true gent beat Laura over the finishing line.
My unofficial place would have been 7th overall, and 1st placed 50+ rider as I think it was the chap who accidently took the short cut that got the only faster time.
Looking back it was one of those rides that was made by the weather, that said sunshine for 2013 would be nice.....please.

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