Buxton CC/Sett Valley CC Open TT, 27 June 2019

This week I planned to do two TTs, my first on the Whaley Bypass, Derbyshire. Even with the weather forecast predicting 17 mph winds, gusting to 27 mph, little did I know the series of unusual events that would unravel throughout the evening. An erratic driver speeding into my path, forcing me to brake to a stop and speedy work with the Allen keys at the start line to lower the TT bars so I could steer, were obstacles before I even began the race.

The course was consisted of dual carriageway between two roundabouts, the first occurring 1 mile into the course. In this first mile, I could already feel the dragging from the headwind yet putting the difficulty down to adjusting to the pace, I figured it would improve. After the first roundabout, the road began to descend towards the second roundabout at a rate far greater than the profile and maps had hinted; combined with the tailwind, I was thundering along, marvelling at the speed until the realisation that this surprisingly fast descent would soon be a punishing ascent with a block headwind, for 3.2 miles…

Turning the roundabout, I bedded down for the trudge. Hauling the bike uphill, pedalling as fast as I could, it felt like there was a sack of potatoes attached to the seatpost being dragged along, me and my bike relentlessly tormented by strong gusts of wind. As the route continued, it passed the start again, where riders were still starting their race, causing some confusion as someone was released to start just as I was going by. Navigating the first roundabout for the second time (the third roundabout negotiation of the course), I was grateful for the downhill to finish, in my biggest gear, I was really flying. My time of 30:13 alone doesn't paint the picture of the night, however my win of £10 for fifth fastest female shows how everybody’s times were hindered by the conditions. I look forward to improving my TT position and continuing to develop strength to go faster and ride better TTs this season.

Julia Wardley-Kershaw

Tim PhillipsTT