>West London Combine ’25’


After last week’s ‘okay, but not quite there’ results I decided to train harder this week and use this weekend’s races as training. The plan is to carry this through to the Finsbury Park CC ’50’ in a couple of weeks in the hope of doing a decent ride. Good plan.

A hard 60 mile Chiltern session on Wednesday followed by a nippy group on Thursday night at Hillingdon left my legs feeling nicely ‘used’. Unfortunately I seem to have picked up some sort of stomach bug along the way.

Saturday‘s race was supposed to be a ’10’ on the H10/8 Bentley course, but it was cancelled because of rain. This was the correct decision given the surface water and poor visibility. Given the state of my guts I was quite glad, but annoyed at the long, traffic-jam-filled drive to get there.

Sunday was a 5:00am alarm for a 7:30am start at Great Missenden. The event was the West London Combine ’25’ on the HCC114 course. I hummed and hawed about starting, but in the end decided to give it a go. The course passes the HQ twice during the race, so there would be opportunities to retire if I felt ill.

It was cool and there was a headwind start, so I began gently – less than 20mph for the first two miles. I was off number one, so there was no one to chase. After about 9 miles team mate Peter Dixon (no. 4) came roaring past on his way to a winning 58:02 – chapeau, Peter. I used the long tailwind leg to pick up speed and then, turning back into the headwind, just rolled the pedals over. I could have packed at about 20 miles, but I really wanted to ride the last downhill, tailwind section now. It was fun.

I finished with a 1:5:45 – actually a course personal best. So far there hasn’t been a reaction beyond incredible tiredness. Perhaps the stomach bug was all a dream.

Race stats: Time: 1:05:45 (22.81mph). First 12.5 miles: 31:44, last 12.5 miles: 33:56. Top speed: 32.3mph. Slowest mile (18): 3:13 (18.65mph), fastest miles (12 and 25): 2:05 (28.80mph). Average HR: 156bpm, maximum HR: 166bpm. Average cadence: 76rpm. 17th of 38 finishers. Winner: Peter Dixon (Willesden CC) 58:02.

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