In a wood just outside Shefford, on the evening of the longest day of the year, 17 riders gathered to contest the season’s last Dave Gudgin 25.
Warm temperatures free of the high humidity of previous days, were offset by a light wind, but not enough to trouble all but the most ethereal of fairies.
A brief period of confusion occurred when the organiser of our revels, Nick Hickman, found himself inexplicably in another part of the forest, but all was soon mended and we were off, timed by Frank Turner and Leanne Cutler. The most fleet of foot and pedal was Ryan Witchell, who whilst not putting a girdle round the Earth in 40 minutes, was able to lap Old Warden three times in a magical 57:09.
The next to complete the course was Lindz Barral (1:02:01), nearly 5 minutes behind and narrowly ahead of Steve Robinson (1:02:06). A feature of this event is the rustic timed downing of half a pint in the second lap in memory of Clive Collins and to remind ourselves that we do this for fun. A slick 6.38 second performance by Nigel Wilson assured him of this trophy ahead on his way to a solid 1:09:52, easily beating Paul Riley (8.83/1:14:08) at both disciplines. John Traynor’s stumbling 27.72 hints at a need for further practice… (Ed – Jon should be good at this being a Duathlete type).
Whilst the night was free of mechanicals, (except the Crude Mechanicals in the Hare and Hounds), there were numerous adventures off course. Nick Senechal veered off onto Oberon’s causeway (the 30 course innit) until he realised he had done 25 miles but not finished, and Richard Cooke added his own variations, as did guest Julian Shepherd of the New Forest CC.
But these small matters faded into insignificance as those lucky enough to ride home turned their wheels towards Hitchin. The late evening sun shining over their shoulders turned the landscape to a magical golden world, or as Radu put it “the sun makes everything look more poetic” (Ed – except sun burn).
Times and riders.
- Ryan Witchell University of Bristol, 57:06
- Lindz Barral Equipe Velo, 1:02:01
- Steve Robinson HNCC/TSE, 1:02:06
- Peter Gell, BRRT, 1:02:51
- Mark Desborough HNCC, 1:03:41
- James Gomm HNCC/TSE, 1:04:23
- Nick Senechal HNCC, 1:04:46 (off course)
- Julian Shepherd New Forest CC, 1:06:46 (off course)
- David Ledgerton TSE, 1:08:26 (+ 35 Seconds Late start)
- John Gillham Tm Trident, 1:08:58
- Richard Cooke HNCC, 1:09:25 (off course)
- Nigel Wilson HNCC, 1:09:52
- Radu Chirvasuta HNCC, 1:12:29
- Dave Summerell HNCC, 1:12:34
- Paul Riley HNCC, 1:14:08
- Catherine Jones HNCC, 1:18:31
Jon Traynor HNCC, DNF
King of the Forest was Frank Turner, Titania was played by Leanne Cutler. And Simon Doyle was Puck. Well, we think that’s what he said.
As told to Nick Senechal.