Manchester and District Ladies CA 10-mile TT, 29 June 2019
I travelled to sunny Cheshire for my second TT of the week where temperatures in the early afternoon peaked at a balmy 29°C. Having studied the course profile on Friday, I decided to ride this TT on my road bike for handleability and low weight as the first mile was a country lane with poor asphalt in places and tight bends; the route also included two sharp steep hills that would be tackled from both directions throughout the course. As I set off along the lane and entered onto the main road, a single carriageway ‘A’ road that swept through the countryside, I was grateful for the greater stability of my road bike, as there was no space for any weaving with cars zooming by in both directions. Having entered the main road, a tailwind helped to boost the speed along the scenic course, which snaked through tree-lined sections, passed the famous Jodrell Bank Observatory. Arriving at the roundabout just after halfway, a shop, garage and five exits made for a multi-pronged attack from the traffic, forcing me to a frustrating almost stop before entering the roundabout itself. Out in the open, the sun was starting to bake the dappled Tarmac and having set off back towards the finish, the warm headwind started to sap moisture and energy. Despite keeping a high pace on the way out, the headwind started to grind at tiring legs. Hammering down the pedals towards the finish, the chequered sign under the shade of a tree came just at the right time. My time recorded as 28:23 is slower than my recent escapades on the Levens course and in St Asaph but is welcomed after Thursday’s draining course and I felt it to be one of the best efforts this year. With the variable road surface, sharp hills and bends, Saturday’s course was never going to be a PB-maker, let alone with the headwind on the way back but its varied nature, beside verdant fields under sprawling leaves and its interesting features and characteristics made it a hugely enjoyable course to ride.