6am Sunday saw a massive rainstorm hit Hertfordshire. Fortunately, by the time our riders set off to the event, it had passed. Conditions like this also bring challenges after the event though, principally in terms of debris and sharp flints which are washed into the road. There was also no shortage of surface water, with many low sections flooded into the bargain.
The 2 teams of 5 were reduced to 4 and 5 when new arrival Ian Baynes punctured en route to the start, his tyre so badly slashed that a repair was impossible.
Once started, two more riders were lost within the first 5km out of 60 so that by the time they reached the Park Gate Climb up to Wing, we had only 7 riders remaining out of 10. Seven very determined riders though, as you can see from the echelon formations in the 40mph crosswinds on that section.
By the finish, team A had lost Ross to another puncture, so Neil rolled over the line, gasping and clinging on to Luke's back wheel for grim death. The time didn't count though; 4 riders needed to finish in order to be officially eligible.
Team B meanwhile, had stayed calm and focused, worked together amidst the disruption and crossed the line 4 seconds ahead of the Didcot Phoenix team.
There may have been some luck involved, but there was also a fair share of determination and plenty of effort. In particular, our mate Mark Jervis, who saved the day by filling in for Paul Caton, and new boy Matt Rushton, who was seriously struggling with form only a week ago whilst recovering from a late season broken collarbone.
|winners Eugene Rack, Mark Jervis, Matt Rushton, Darren Powell, John Lacey|
So all in all, a great morning out - it looks like the Gentlemens' TTT could be around for a few years to come, along with a great Cafe HQ at The Cog.