Rossington Wheelers 10-mile TT, 20 July 2019

Saturday meant time trial day; with my new PB in the bag from 13 July, we travelled to a course near Doncaster for this week’s event, which seemed flat and fast on the profile. On arrival, the wind was starting to gust and having collected my number, we recced the course in the car, making a mental note of the gaps in the hedges that could channel the crosswind. I returned to the HQ and began my usual preparation. While I was warming up, number 1 came to let me know they were letting riders off early. This seemed odd, given the whole point of a time trial hinges on time but I made sure I got there with time to spare. As I was riding down to the start, I could see the rider before me was already being held up to start, so I got a move on and slotted in line. When they called my number forward, I commented that we were being set off early. Adamant that everything was on time and showing me a watch that was clearly running fast, the timekeeper and holder found it amusing that I questioned the timings, they assured me that the watch at the finish was running even faster! As I set off and exited the village; the road, straight as a die, spanned out ahead. Straight away, I could feel the uneven road surface, which had not been flattened following roadworks and the rumble of the inferior asphalt harmonised nicely with the regular clangs and clatters of overcoming the ridges across the road. Having read a blog post about this course, I became aware that some people refer to a section as the ‘rumble strip’ due to the crumbling road surface. Already rattling along the surface that was supposed to be smooth in comparison to this ‘rumble strip’, I dreaded what was to come. Arriving at the section in question, I am certain it has markedly deteriorated since the blog and now resembled more of a ‘rubble strip’, dodging the potholes I picked a path through, I glanced down at the screen of my Polar, praying for the roundabout (halfway) to be near, only to find it was still 3 miles away. Juddering and jolting, I continued on, probably appearing to an onlooker as if in the process of being electrocuted by my own bicycle, my arms visibly rippling on the arm rests. At every junction, the drivers waited when nothing was coming along the road and then pulled out when something arrived, which became increasingly annoying as the TT went on. Arriving at the roundabout, already feeling drained both mentally and physically, I wobbled my way around the oblong-shaped island, which consisted of two sharp bends separated by short straights as opposed to anything round. Heading back, with the crosswind, it was like hanging onto the mast of a ship in a storm, and the road surface on this side was even worse. At around the 7-mile point, my energy ran out and I was pushing as best I could to the end. Holding speed with dwindling willpower, the finish was in sight, clearly marked by a white line and a flag. I slowed down having crossed the line but something seemed strange. Out of the blue, no. 50 came flying past so I put a spurt on again only to find they’d moved the finish line further along the road, up a slight hill and around a bend! Returning to the HQ after my ride, I was quite bemused, another rider’s shouting and ranting indicated I wasn’t the first to be unaware of the different finish line. As we stood to watch the times come in on the spreadsheet projected on the wall, I was hopeful as I was ranked as third fastest female, only to be shifted down to fourth by a later finisher. I am extremely happy with my time of 27:12, given I nearly missed my start, the finish line was moved and energy was flagging in the second half of the ride. I look forward to my next time trial, where battling just time itself seems easy after the trial of Saturday’s event.

Julia Wardley-Kershaw

Tim PhillipsTT