A massive success last year with good weather and a large field made Spalding Cycling Club’s Drop Bar Challenge something to look forward to in 2016.
Sadly, though, awful weather throughout the day and cold misty conditions in the evening meant 11 members and one guest turned out.
The rule of the event is to use standard road bikes and equipment only to re-create the feel of 1970s time trialling and it always produces a few surprises.
As Iron Bar Drove was busier than usual with a classic car club outing, some extra care was needed.
Many people who have only ever ridden time trials on Aero bikes have difficulty adapting to the same effort on a standard bike so, although the top three finishers were in roughly the same order as usual, their ride times were slower.
Those who race on standard road bikes regularly or can adapt to the position better post times close to what they usually finish with.
Overall winner was the 2015 champion Ben Moore whose 24:37 was 1:27 quicker than last year’s time of 25:50.
Putting in a fine ride of 24:46 earned second claim rider Matt Ellis second place and the only under-16 rider after Tom Wright pulled out due to illness.
Third spot was filled by Ross McGivern with 26:57 and, like Ellis, almost four minutes quicker than in 2015.
In the last few events Richard Flatters and Gary Bentley have always posted very close times, swapping finishing order each week and this time around it was Flatters who got the better by seven seconds. They finished with times of 28:14 and 28:21.
As neither rode the Drop Bar Challenge in 2015 there is no direct comparison but their times for other 2016 races are interesting in that both recorded 28:17 in rounds three and two respectively.
Only two ladies started the event but as Natasha Tooley’s choice of very deep section wheels did not comply with the event rules her time of 30:05 was ineligible for the competition times, leaving Nicole Flatters to head up the results with 33:12 – another personal best ride.
Andy Bowser piloted his mudguard equipped Condor to 27:51 – matched exactly by Mark Hill and both quicker than 2015, ahead of Simon Wright (28:05) and Barry Drew (31:21).
Guest Chris Ward put in a finish time of 25:12, beating the time he set as a club member in 2015 of 26:27.
Elsewhere, with the time trial and road seasons under way Andy Barnard and Drew rode the VTTA Notts and East Midlands 25.
Traditionally a course for fast times, a northerly wind put paid to many people’s chances as the Spalding pair finished toward the back of the 97-strong field – posting times just 12 seconds apart.
Their times of 1:09:25 and 1:09:37 were good enough for 89th and 90th places.