Sudbury Reliability Trial – (48miles/77km) 27th Jan
The CCS RT sensibly comes pre-packed with it’s own ready made excuses. As it’s held the morning after the Club’s own awards ceremony I’ve already got a late night and a hangover to blame everything on. For my own part however (due to a carefully planned and executed strategy during the 2007 season), I didn’t have too many trophies to collect or celebrate so didn’t actually feel too bad at signing on. I was still fuzzy headed enough though, to find I was the only one amongst my regular club run buddies to, not only put my name down for the long, fast group but also to inadvertently be amongst the first 10 to do so, so found myself in a group with the likes of Wiggins, Thomas and Cavendish.
Doubting my early season preparations, I pretended to be otherwise engaged at the allotted start time and so set off on my own a few minutes after the dust had settled confident that I would soon be caught by a group of riders I might have a chance of staying with.
Sure enough before I’d even made it through the Chilton Estate I was engulfed by another fast moving bunch. It seems just about everyone except me has joined the new VC Revolution club and their new team kits must be free or something, because I was the sole speck of orange in a sea of blue and white. Hastily upping my pace accordingly, I was swept along with them and started to feel better. All too soon however an Interbike peloton swept passed and our blue and white posse quickly dissolved into red and yellow. It was soon clear that I wasn’t going to hang on to even this group for the whole 48 miles. So before the first passing of Lavenham I was on my own again through Monks Eleigh, Semer and Bildeston. By Hitchin though I heard a familiar voice behind yelling “Jump on Viv!”. This I managed to do and found myself riding with my first CCS colleagues of the day. Brian and Stuart were hanging on the back of a well organised group and the front of which Ken Baker and his pals were sitting up, wearing jolly hats, looking like they were on the back from the bread shop. Now on familiar ground I was able to hold onto this group, even doing a little bit of work and we maintained a good pace round the northern section of the route. Fortunately the strongest riders never seem to know the route as well as the rest of us, so at each junction there is just enough confusion for us to get a quick breather. From the left turn where we head back south towards Lavenham again and Sudbury, and I began to feel that I would hang on to the end.
Thus re-fortified I was alarmed when the pace suddenly shot up and by Lt. Waldingfield I was once again out the back and scrabbling for the wheels of similarly prepared riders. By the time I got back to the Cornard Community Centre (who was Stephenson anyway?) I was once again on my own. Still, by a combination of different strategies I did the 48 miles inside 2.5 hours and for my part at least, was nearly as pleased with that as I was with the tea, cake AND hot soup being distributed by the CCS crew. Thanks to Brian and all for another excellently organised event.