In true UCL fashion, the day began with an early morning meet at the station. Three men. Nervous. Afraid. Eager. These were some of the feelings dominating the train journey up to Bath. Once off the train, the brilliant weather and landscape boosted morale to an all time high. Although the commute to the HQ brought on some serious hills, sometimes with gradients in excess of 15%, we remained undeterred.
Arriving at the HQ, we were soon greeted by a collection of bikes we have only dreamed about. Zipp 808’s, full discs, tri spokes, we looked so brilliantly amateurish with our clip on tt bars. Reminding ourselves that they were most likely people with ‘all the gear and no idea’ we pressed on.
Being the first squad, we lined up and began the mental preparation. After a 90 second wait that seemed like an eternity, we were off. Within two kilometers, the pain had already begun with a hill that kicked up to 12%, causing a serious dent in our defenses. We eventually ramped the pace back up to a healthy average of 38kmph and with the aid of a brilliant downhill section, ramped our average to a smashing 43kmph (aided by a some seriously strong pulls from Mike) by the half way point. At this stage, (after a brief hold up at a junction) we transitioned into the rolling uphill section of the route. Here, the combination of poor road surface and false flats saw each member maintain presence in the pain cave; each turn was a struggle, and each push to catch the end of the train burned.
As we passed the start line, we new it was nearly over, in a bid for a fast finish, Mike came around from the back to up the pace even further. Although a brief gapped formed, we regrouped and pressed harder. We soon came back to the original hill and Finn heroically took the lead in, averaging a strong 25kmph up the entirety of the pitch. As we neared the top, Mike let out a resounding ‘I’m empty’. Unheard of. As we came within one kilometer, I came around to try and lift the pace with what little energy I had left, and we proceeded to sprint to the finish.
All in all, it was a very strong effort by everybody, and having been completely spent at the end, we know we gave it everything. Definitely a great race to do, and we’ll all be back next year to give it a crack.