>Saturday was perhaps my best bet for going under the hour for ’25’ this season and it didn’t happen – not even close. That said, it was a season’s best by 89 seconds and my fifth fastest time ever.

My eight fastest times have been done on the R25/7 (or R95 as it used to be). I’ve never got under 1:01:00 on any other course. I was therefore, of course, looking forward to a visit home with a diversion to Usk to ride it again at the Cwmcarn Paragon RC ’25’.

Saturday started cool and breezy, but did warm up towards my 15:48 start time. The first mile is a ski-slope – a fast decent, slalom style, down a country lane. Within two miles you’re on the dual carriageway and plugging away on the flat. There was a headwind to the turn and this slowed me seriously on the long climb past the Raglan interchange. The descent to the tunnels was fast and the section through the lanes went okay.

I knew that if I could fly up the climb back to Raglan that the hour might be on. Alas, although the tailwind helped, it was not enough. I enjoyed the 30mph section over the other side, but the chance had gone. I rolled home in 1:00:35 (all this makes it sound as if I’m riding on the watch – I’m not. It’s all post race analysis). A fair time for the day I think.

Race stats: Time: 1:00:35 (24.76mph). First 12.5 miles: 31:31, last 12.5 miles: 29:04. Top speed: 39.2mph. Slowest mile (7): 3:07 (19.25mph), fastest mile (21): 1:57 (30.77mph). Average HR: 163bpm, maximum HR: 170bpm. Average cadence: 75rpm. ? of ? finishers. Winner: Ceri Pritchard (Planet X) 50:24

After a long drive home (I love the hill road between Usk and Chepstow) and an early start I was on the start line for this morning’s Farnham RC ’25’ at Bentley. The breeze hadn’t abated and it was blowing across the course – no block headwind sections, but no fast tailwind sections either.

I could feel yesterday’s ride in the legs on the short climbs, but managed a respectable course best of 1:03:01 (damn that Range Rover on the Farnham roundabout). In this event in 2008 I did 1:03:03 and in 2009 1:03:15. There’s consistency for you.

Race stats: Time: 1:03:01 (23.80mph). First 12.5 miles: 31:22, last 12.5 miles: 31:31. Top speed: 35.6mph. Slowest miles (2 and 22): 2:52 (20.93mph), fastest mile (23): 2:08 (28.13mph). Average HR: 154bpm, maximum HR: 165bpm. Average cadence: 73rpm. 41st of 78 finishers. Winner: Martin Williamson (London Dynamo) 54:44

This week I’m going to raise the bars on the bike. This is to make my position easier for the ‘100’ in a few weeks, but I’ll also be interested to see if it improves my cadence and/or power and how much aero advantage I lose.