Nineteen riders held their breath on Saturday afternoon as they turned into Dangarsleigh Road ahead of the start line for the 20K individual time trial. Would Kirky have remembered he was on duty? Would he have got the right course? Would the race be on? There was a collective sigh of relief as they crested the rise and were greeted by a full set of signs and cones in the marshaling area – Kirky had outdone himself and exceeded everyone’s expectations (and probably his own too) before the race had even started.
He continued to perform like a seasoned professional, delegating the production of the start order to those more familiar (and willing) with the process and within a few minutes Jim Cook was off up the road with everyone lined up to follow at 30s intervals. Never one to waste energy on anything unnecessarily, Kirky had clearly applied the same eco-friendly attitude to the charging of his phone which he was using to time the race. He announced that he had about 30 minutes of battery life left so everyone had better get a hurry on or he might not be able to give them an accurate time. Fortunately we had the camera running, just in case…
Up the road the weather was a bit damp with fine drizzle falling but the surface remained dry and if anything, the cooler weather helped riders on the undulating course. There was a definite cross-headwind on the outward leg, particularly noticeable on the exposed sections and on the run up towards the turn. Our commissaire continued to impress, having safely got everyone underway, he positioned himself at the well-marked turn wearing the official club blazer. I can’t speak for everyone but it was personally very inspiring to have a barrage of encouragement shouted out while navigating the turn although I wasn’t altogether familiar with some of the terminology used.
By the time the turn was reached, a few riders had already put in some impressive work. Holly and Mick Harris had caught and passed several riders and starting last, Harrison had picked off the 3 immediately ahead of him. As always, Col was putting in a perfectly measured ride, smoothly maintaining progress with apparently little effort. Harrison continued to pick off those ahead, passing 11 by the end of the race. Mick Harris caught 10 and by the time she crossed the finish line as the first rider home, Holly had impressively overtaken 8.
In the end Harrison comfortably finished inside the half-hour at an average speed of 41.2kph for the 19.7k course and finishing 1m:21s ahead of the next best rider Mick, who raced without TT bars and looked extremely strong, just missing out on a sub-30 minute time by 11s. Swanny rounded off the places with a typically good 30m:42s ride, showing no ill-effects of his 3 Peaks work two weeks earlier.
Readers of the unofficial results immediately after the race were impressed to see that Col had also dipped under the magic half-hour but this was quickly identified as a minor miscalculation which in no way reflects upon the top-tier mathematical skills of our chief commissaire on the day. The issue was swiftly resolved and video evidence used during the post-race review would show that all rider times on the day had actually been calculated and recorded to within 1 second. In short Kirky had an absolute blinder.
Well done to H, Mick and Swanny for grabbing the honours on the day, notable rides also from Holly Harris and Rhys Williams and great to see Jim and David Cook put in an appearance after riding at the TEC beforehand along with Ben Hutton. Of course the real hero of the day was Kirky. We’re still in March and he’s already run two races and everyone agrees his performances off the bike have eclipsed anything he ever achieved on two wheels. Mention of Kirky’s performance on Saturday will no doubt be made at the annual awards ceremony later in the year.
Don’t forget, next week the RROTY competition kicks off once again on Long Swamp, see you all then.
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