Re:Emitremmus. It was exceptionally mild, even at 7a.m when I took the dog out for a walk. Thin arm warmers and a jersey over base layer was sufficient. I also rode without a helmet as a treat. I benefited from an effortless tow courtesy of team Hitchin, passing very many from group A and being passed by none. A swift turnaround at Hare St., where the train did not stop to get their cards marked, found me alone all the way to Saffron Walden where I arrived about 12 minutes before the control opened. They asked me to wait and I duly obliged, but one or two snuck off quietly.

Within 3 kms of the halfway point, the headwind indicated just how much assistance we had received on the way out. I was in a group of 5, three of us were working together and on one of my turns I tried to catch a group of four about 300m in front, including the “very strong” Bendy Bianchi” and ” Sudbury Simon”. However, the effort took its toll and I blew up and lost a minute to my grupetto on the climb to Chishill. There followed a tough, lumpy stretch all the way to Reed where I saw my comrades about 4 minutes to the good.

At Therfield, I made a very quick stop, forfeiting tea and cake to follow a fixie rider to Luffenhall, where I mullahed him on the climb, only to be passed by two old boys which broke my heart! Pride before a fall. Great fun though. By this time I was flagging but stayed in touch with the seniors until Bendy and Simon smashed by at Damask Green. I found something from somewhere and joined their group all the way to the finish. It was tough, I didn’t feel great all day, but the bike is exceptional.

I rode with a GPS and heart rate monitor. I didn’t need the navigation as I know it backwards, but my HR average was 157 which is 83% of my max 187, so that shows how hard I was working on the way back.

I love this ride, but this edition was more like a sportive for me. I think that I prefer the leisurely approach

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