Caroline & I were the only WVCC starters in this promotion which saw two races, the Nova for the men and the Manchester & District Ladies event for the women. My old friends Ian and Mavis Ross from my former club the Nova were the organisers and we always make an effort to ride this event. This morning it was raining cats and dogs so the prospect of riding 25 miles on a wet and windy day didn’t exactly inspire us, but fortunately the rain stopped so we just had a very strong wind to contend with.
The event was delayed by 17 minutes due to a car crash right near the start, but after the cars were removed the police gave the go ahead and the Womens field of 20 riders, including a very in form Dame Sarah Storey of Team Podium Ambition, got under way. Caroline predicted that Sarah would catch her for 8 minutes at about Twemlow Lane and as if by magic she flew past her bang on queue just 12 miles into her ride. The conditions proved very tough down the A50 which is not good news on this course which covers the A50 twice. Times are always slow when the wind is in this unusual direction and today proved no exception for the normal club riders as Caroline posted a 1:13:07 which is good couple of minutes slower than usual on this course. However she came 13th overall so about 2/3 of the way through the field, so she was pleased with her position. Sarah won the Womens event by a country mile with a fantastic 55:20 untimately only beaten by 2 of the men in the Nova event and she was just 30 seconds behind the fastest man. It looks like she will have another medal fest in Rio based on this excellent form.
I was off early on in the mens race and my legs felt a little heavy after last Sundays 100 but no excuses as I think the conditions made it hard for everyone today. I selected 106″ fixed so I could cruise with the tail wind on the A535 leaving enough energy on the hard stretch down the A50 to grapple with the direct headwind on both laps. I judged the effort about right and got the best out of myself I think on the day, as I was spent at the finish but didn’t blow up during the ride. My time of 59:13 was slow for me on this course but was actually less of a loss than others saw on this windy day so gave me 14th overall in the mens event out of a field of 68 riders. It’s not my best distance and this is quite a good placing for me this Year so I’ll take that.
The winner of the mens event was Darren Maironis of Coveryourcar.com RT with a 54:50. This is a good 60 – 90 seconds slower than his usual time on this course so this showed how tough the conditions were. Great day out and thanks as always to the organisers and helpers who sacrificed their Saturday afternoon for our enjoyment.