Today 3 of the Fearons went medal hunting in a 30 mile time trial at Etwall. Jack, Caroline and I are all 30 mile virgins unless you count me riding the old Westwood 30 on a tandem when I was a junior (Incidentally the now defunct Westwood RCC from Worsley was my first ever club and I rode for them from 1977 – 1979 when I joined the Nova CC).
If you look at the club time trial records the 30 for both men and women needs bringing into the 21st Century and this was todays target for both Caroline and I with jack looking for a club standard medal. The ladies record is Ann Gregory’s with a 1:25:30 set back in the 1970’s. I was chasing the veterans record of 1:11:46 set by Brian Russell in 1981 in the Westwood 30 on the Northwich by-pass and also the outright senior record of 1:08:52 set by my old mate Paul Rigby on 9th August 1986 also in the Westwood event and coincidentally that was the same day that Caroline and I got married.
We arrived at Etwall and fortunately the forecasted showers seemed to have held off and the wind was not from the same NW direction that I was tortured by last week in the BDCA 100 on this same road. Caroline was off no 12 with Jack at no 23 and me at no 26 so there was every chance that I may catch both of them before the finish. Unfortunately this was not to be, as poor old Jack who had dragged himself out after a 4AM finish at the Penny Black punctured and he almost recorded the shortest ever ride in a time trial before retiring! The start timekeeper counted down and the second that he started to move forward his front tub blew out so he travelled about 1 metre before getting off. The timekeeper agreed to give him a restart later on (strictly speaking this is against the rules as technically he had already started his ride, even if it was only for less than 1 second). However he had to walk back to the car 15 minutes away and just to add insult to injury it hailed on him as he walked back and when he got to the car there was no spare wheel (my fault). He was a little pee’d off by now so couldn’t be bothered putting a spare tub on, plus we had to leave quickly after the finish as he was back at the pub for another late night at 7PM so that was that.
Back on the road 1 mile into my ride the same hail shower that got Jack also came down on me, so by the time I got on to the A50 I was like a drowned rat. The conditions were not bad and I was riding over 26 mph for the first few miles despite a cross headwind and 2 miles of the first 10 on a single carriageway side road, reaching 10 miles in 23:05. The next 10 miles was 3 miles of side road and then 5 miles back into the cross head wind producing a 2nd 10 mile split of 22:58 including 2 miles of good tail wind from the far turn. The last 10 miles was a cracking cross tail wind and I was regularly over 30 mph and up to 35 mph so my final 10 mile split was 20:35. My final time was 1:06:38 (27.0135 mph) this beats the club vets record by 5 min 8 secs and the senior men’s record by 2 min 14 secs and also gives me a Gold vets standard and a gold senior standard, so quite pleasing for my first try at this unusual distance. My coach John Morgan of Preston Wheelers caught me for 4 minutes with 5 miles to go and finally beat me by exactly 5 minutes and he was leading when we left with a 1:01:38.
Caroline was also battling away and she had a slight handicap to start with as she dropped her Suzuki bandit on Thursday whilst getting it out of the shed. She saw it toppling on the slope of our drive and caught it but it weighs a lot and she had to gently lie it down as it was too heavy to lift up and in the process she strained her left knee and thigh. Luckily she missed the hail shower that got me and Jack but the first 20 miles were a bit heavy in places but she recorded an excellent first 10 split of 28:03. Caroline’s second 10 miles with 27:45 which is similar to the 1st split like mine so she clearly judged her effort well. Finally she could get those big gears moving but she never used the 11 sprocket as her knee was giving her some trouble. Her final 10 split was a super fast 24:17 so she clearly didn’t blow up despite the tough first 20 miles. This gave her a superb 1:20:05 knocking 5 min 25 secs off Ann’s club record that has stood the test of time for nearly 40 years and it’s Caroline’s first ever club record. She also achieved a club Veterans Gold standard and a club senior ladies silver standard … well done Caroline, your efforts of 2013 have paid off.
So a mixed emotions on the way home as Caroline and I both achieved our targets for the day but poor old Jack had to chalk it up as an unfortunate experience.