Rolling up to the start I was pretty nervous. As most first timers are, I was mostly nervous about posting up a ridiculously slow time. My goal was to get under 30 minutes. So all I had to do was average 20 miles per hour for 30 minutes. How hard could that be? 1 minute to go the person in front has gone and I roll up to the line. 30 seconds do go I clip in while the pusher off holds on to me. 20 seconds getting butterflies thinking I’m not going to fall off, I’m not going to fall off (this comes from the ridiculous fear of falling off when the pusher off lets go). 10 seconds, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5,4,3,2,1 – GOl! I’m out like a racehorse out of the gate riding as fast as I can, watching the speed on my computer. I’m doing around 20 to 22 mph and feeling strong. I hardly notice the traffic around me and just focus on keeping as smooth as possible and watching out for obstacles. I try to get as aerodynamic as possible but it difficult to hold this position on the drops. 10 minutes in and someone goes flying past me – my minute man. 13 minutes and I’m at the turn. Wow! I’m going to get under 30 minutes. I can do this in 26 minutes. Wrong! Now the pain starts as the course rises up over a motorway bridge and the road drags. I don’t want to change down to my middle cog and my legs are screaming as I fight the incline. From here it is really hard and I fight the urge to ease off. My sportive experience is telling me to slow down as I am used to pacing myself. I am also paying the price for going off too fast at the start. As this stage I am yelling to myself to dig deep and keep pushing.
The road continues to drag and another rider passes me. Surely it’s got to end soon. I get to a junction and finally the road seems to flatten. I see a high visibility jacket. The finish! OMG and I’m under 30 minutes. OH NO! !!! It’s just a man trimming hedges and not the finish line at all. Where’s the finish???? Another few hundred metres and there’s the sight for sore eyes. I feel sick and completely spent and roll back to the layby to compose myself.