Hindsight is a wonderful thing and after spluttering into the mic of the friendly chap on the finish line about how most Clarion clubs share the red black and yellow colour scheme, I rode away wishing I had something profound that I could have said.
Something, that after the Rutland Border Epique could drift on the strongish wind over the nearby market in Melton Mowbray to get shoppers to stop and think “he sounds clever“.
I have thought of those words and they are the post title.
Apologies that I have been so tired that it’s taken me until the following Thursday for them to come to me though.
But now the quote has formed in my mind… how apt it is.
I know Southern Rutland well especially the area near Oakham and the south shore of the lake which are regular roads for me to shred my legs on.
This event intrigued me as it started in Melton Mowbray before heading north towards Nottingham ahead of a right turn towards Belvoir castle and Grantham. The route then headed into the stiff southerly back to Oakham before a sting in the tail heading back north to the finish.
After being part of a decent hard working group from the start, I hung back behind a car and a big group on the way up to Belvoir. I got back on during the descent, but there were a couple of riders missing having headed off up the road.
I formed an alliance with new riding buddy for the day Paul lasted over the lumps and bumps ahead of the feed. But that last 8kms before refreshment had me struggling and despite thinking I should stick with someone as long as possible, I urged him to go ahead and not wait for me.
Due to a bit of traffic and a motorcycle club run I managed to miss the feed and found myself pressing on towards Cottesmore and Greetham alone and with the wind really starting to punish my legs.
The sight of my wife and kids cheering me on from a layby got me back towards Oakham and then the dream scenario of a tail wind started to come to fruition.
But I guessed that the toughest climbs were to come when we arrived in Wymondham and took in the sharp steep drag past the bike shop and up towards the Colsterworth – Melton Road.
The family had made it across to that point but could see that I was fading fast with 80km in my legs (in one ride for the first time since 2016).
I plugged away on the last couple of climbs unzipping my jersey and snatching off my arm warmers. But I was literally and in the cycling sense cooked.
A couple of riders came flying past, Paul included after a sugar filled cake stop, but I wasn’t in a position to tag on to any trains.
Even the downhill back into town and the finish in Melton was now back against the wind so I just hung in and made it to the line as best I could.
My mind was scrambled and my legs like jelly. That explains my boring chat to the finish commentator, I suppose.
What I have to say is that this was a first class event. Brilliantly organised and marshalled. I saw no trouble from horse riders or motorists, some achievement with the start and finish in the centre of a busy town on market day.
I will be back in 2023 with hopefully more adequate climbing legs and a time to beat.