This was an epic event with all the elements that any pro rider would wish for at least once in their lives: a tough climb, heavy rain, gale force winds and crowds to die for. This was what our 17 brave souls were up against, and managed to come out on top.
The first round was an individual time trial and after a sloppy start on my side, Kevin rightly pointed out that I am useless at multi-tasking. Kris came to the rescue and thanks to his impressive skills as chrono master we managed to set off the riders on their quest for glory.
The one rule was simple: flat out cycling until the cima of Passo delle Swains Lane. Roz was waiting for the riders at the top of the mountain and in addition to recording their time she made sure that nobody was saving energy by asking their full names as they crossed the line. If they managed to spit out their full name they were immediately sent back down to the bottom for another try. She can confirm that everyone not only did not manage to say an understandable word but also just about managed to stay up on their bikes as they crossed the finish line. The effort was heroic.
The best times recorded were by Kris Boye with an impressive 1:56sec and Amy Pritchard with a magnificent 2:33sec.
In the second round, riders were seeded in groups of four according to fastest times. After a few elimination rounds where the fastest two riders per group qualified, we ended up with our four mountain goats to compete for the King of the Mountains title. The final climb was disputed with a handicap given to riders according to their first individual time trial. So we had Alan Bruce going for glory first, followed by Prasoon (visible for just a split second), myself and finally Kris, who only knows one way to ride hills: hard and fast from the start. Just when I thought I was making good progress and was already thinking about the prize and glory along came Kris passing me like a train with no brakes in hot pursuit of Alan and Prasoon. On the second half of the climb I just managed to catch up with Alan and saw in the distance the ease on which Kris was closing in on Prasoon, who in turn was only few meters from the top. I gather that it must have been a photo finish as the spectators went ballistic and later realised that Prasoon did manage not to be run over by the Danish Express by 0.89 of a second.
So we can confirm that the winner of the 2013 King of the Mountains competition is Prasoon!
To enter the competition, riders sent us their predicted time for the individual hill time trial with the closest guess to be awarded a reasonable size Nutella pot to cover a weekend chocolate fix. We must admit that competition here was fierce with the difference between first and second being only one second apart. In third place was Martyn Homan; second Paul Wolf and first Jonathan Wortelboer.
A big thank you to Adrian and his wife Danielle for hosting tea and cake at their place, following a social ride around the Cuffley Loop. And thank you as well for the opportunity to meet Ted, the new family member and on the way to being spoiled with probably the best chocolate croissant north of the Channel.
Lastly, thank you to all those who managed to get out of bed despite the wind and rain. I’m sure you would agree that it was worth it.
Luis and Roz