The first race of the weekend was the Bath CC 10 mile time trial on the Frome by-pass, with about 11 roundabouts to negotiate.
There was a light wind and rain clouds were threatening, but it’s the same for everyone.
I had a good warm-up and rode off to the start.
The first mile is very quick, then the course turns sharp right through a roundabout and down the ski slope – hit 43 mph down that bit.
I was going quite well by then and proceeded through the other roundabouts to the turn. Unfortunately the return run involves a number of drags which reduces the speed a bit, then on the second roundabout on that leg, a car decided to race me through the roundabout so I eased off a bit for safety, then carried on with my ride.
Mile to go and a hard drag, then a dip down before the finish (at the foot of the ski slope, thank goodness).
I ended up clocking 25:51, which was 44 seconds faster than the same event last year, so not too bad a ride.
I had thought that I was in with a chance of the Over 70 prize (£20), but ended up 4th out of 4, although there was not much time between the four of us.
Overall winner, taking the course record by one second with 20:07, was Rob Pears, Pro Cycling magazine with 20:05.
Following on, I had a two hour drive to Aberdare for my hotel for the night.
Sunday morning featured the Ogmore Valley Wheelers 25 mile event on the famed Glyneath course.
Got to the HQ early as there is limited parking at this particular HQ, only to be told that there was a one hour delay due to a wide load (500 tons) coming up the valley for delivery to the industrial estate where the start was.
So everyone hung around getting cold – it was bitter, then got on with the race.
I layered up with clothing and, with little obvious wind, opted for my tri-spoke on the front.
The run-up to the main road was quite slow and I arrived at the first roundabout to be confronted by a large rally of MGB owners taking priority on the junction. Had to come to a stop until a safe gap appeared, losing a good number of seconds and all my speed.
I managed to grab a break and got on with my race – on to the dual carriageway which was still a bit slow until the gradient of the Glyneath bank took over and the speed rose, hitting just 40 mph on the faster bit.
Had another delay on the third roundabout with traffic coming through, but just slowed and then had to get up to speed.
Generally it was pretty quick for the rest of the run to the 15 mile point, which I reached well up on a 60 minute schedule.
The last 10 miles were rather slower – a long slog all the way back up the valley. With 5 miles to go I was just about on an hour overall, but dropped another five minutes in the last five miles to end up clocking 1:05:38 for the distance – a bit disappointing but it was a hard finish and I had buried myself over the last 10 miles, so couldn't complain.
Only consolation was that without the hold-ups, I would have sneaked in just under 65 minutes.
Winner was Kieron Davies in 47:19.
Overall an interesting first trip of the year.
In two weeks I’m off again to Six Mile Bottom for a 10 mile event on the course where Alex Dowsett set the national 10 mile record with 17:20 last year – remember that name as he is going for the world hour record on Saturday at 1pm (on Eurosport).. Then the following day I will be riding the Didcot Phoenix 25 west of Oxford. Hopefully I will be going a bit faster by then.