>First ’50’ since 1983

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This was a trial. My legs had been sore all week – the feared hypochondria was back. I cut back on training (didn’t ride at all on Saturday), but still they ached. Saturday night, I went to bed early with the alarm set for 3:50am.

The world is very different at 3:50am – there is no Radio 4 for a start. I headed North to Tempsford to sign on, get my number and queue for the loo.

Tempsford North of Sandy was a bleak place in the early morning fog. Having finished queueing, building the bike and moving food from pocket to pocket I ‘warmed up’. Having ‘warmed up’ for 3.9 miles I got to the start a little early and cooled down again.

6:28am and I was off. Once riding things clicked into place. Manage the pain, pace the ride, drink a little and often. Some riders caught me, but I caught some too. Heading North was a headwind, but the two lap course meant that there were tailwind stretches to recover on. I finished with a 2:8:24 (target 2:9:59) with a first 25 miles in 1:4:01. I was happy with that – I was hanging on for the last 8 miles. That’s my third fastest ’50’ ever.

Plus points: finishing, beating the conservative target. Minus points: legs as sore as hell, messing up the eating (one third of an energy bar forced down, many seconds lost). Work to do.

After the race I got home and P and I went for a pub lunch and some walking in the Chilterns. At least this got the legs moving again, though the hills hurt.

Next week I have a couple of 25s scheduled. I also have a new bike to fit and test. I hope to have it ready for Saturday’s race (woo hoo!).

The photo of me riding to a 24 minute ’10’ a couple of weeks ago – the first photo I have of me in TTing action. Thanks Derek.