Two members of the Nomads’ Time Trial Squad, Nick Hickman and Nigel Wilson, ventured out in the Fens for some early season action at the Ely & District CC “Hard Riders 25” event. The course was changed for this year. A-roads replaced a route on unclassified roads which, according to legend, had been more suited to a cyclo-cross bike. Both testers arrived early to carry out a drive-by inspection of the course, which had a traffic hold up on it due to a badger ambling across the road.
This hazard, not mentioned in the course risk assessment, was safely in its sett by the time the Nomads sped through, so there was no road kill collection and fine-dining opportunity for Hickman this time.
The weather was very fair for the time of year. 4DegC with a light northerly breeze and some winter sunshine. Although the roads were wet there was no precipitation, and thankfully no ice. The sage advice from Cycling Weekly correspondent and regular tester Dr Hutch to “wear a vest for God’s sake” had been properly followed so cold was not a problem.
Hickman started first and was riding without instrumentation, having forgotten to refit a Garmin mount after his machine had been serviced. His planned user acceptance test on new brake sets, front and rear, was not needed – he had good fortune at the several roundabouts on the course. Wilson set off some 30 minutes later, after spending much time faffing with his (properly mounted) Garmin because it was displaying a negative altitude. Finally, after realising that the start line was indeed below sea level and the timekeeper’s count down had begun, he set off. The only way from here was up and he found the Fens to be not as flat as he had imagined. This was his first ride on a pre-owned machine from the Webb stable, more recently held by Jason Dynes. His brakes worked well – rather frustratingly they had to be used in a tractor related traffic standstill (or Rush Hour as it is called).
Although the course was extremely well marshalled, the time keepers had still not put up results an hour or so after the last tester was back at HQ, by which time it was scarper-time for some lunch. Wilson expects to post a time in the region of 01:15:00 and Hickman 01:06:30. Both were pleased with their times, setting useful benchmarks for the season ahead. At the post event coffee and de-brief session Wilson enthused, “I really enjoyed it today! The suffering, riding near to my limit for 75 minutes. I assume the North Road will be very different with the proper hills but hopefully I’ll get a place on the start line”. Hickman’s view was that, “it was an excellent course and I felt good pinning a number on my skin suit again”.
Both are looking forward to the next Hard Riders event, the classic North Road CC 25 on 22 February for which registration closes very soon, with several Nomads signed up already.