Wonderful to see.
I was there.
I was only there because Lisa needed to make up numbers in the mini-bus and cover fuel costs.
When I got to the Clubroom I found the car park full of people waiting to get on the mini-bus.
TCC, London Dynamo, Willesden CC, South Western Road Club, AgiskoViner, plus liggers and hangers-on.
I wondered if there was room for me, or if I'd have to go on the roof rack with the bikes.
I squeezed in at the back, next to the wheels and tools.
A fine party atmosphere ensued, tinged with nervousness. I was mainly nervous about the possibility of no lunch, but the riders had other things on their minds.
Present were: Mac, Lisa, Denise Q (in her first ever road race), Dorchie (memorably 2nd last time), photographer Dave Humphries (who was at our own Womens Team Series race at Chobham), Darlene of the Willesden CC and AgiskoViner, Maneesh (we had 2 photographers at this event), Rebecca Curley and previous race winner Charlotte Blackman of the London Dynamo, Ann Marshall of the SWRC (riding in TCC colours), Jane Payne of the Willesden CC and AgiskoViner, Myself, ligger and hanger-on.
Meeting us there were: Susie Scorer (who lives in Aylesbury and is not often seen in these parts), and our promising Juniors: Corrine Hall and Dani King. 7 TCC riders in this race!
After miles of driving and only one coffee stop, we pulled into a field opposite the site of the Battle of Naseby, 1645, where a huge number of cars and riders were already assembled.
There was a 3/4s race in the morning and an E/1/2 race 5 minutes ahead of the Womens race.
I busied myself assembling bikes and turbos and gazebos and pumping up tyres whilst the ladies applied their make-up and adjusted their apparel and did what ladies do.
There were photographers everywhere, some of them even helping from time to time.
A good field of 50-ish gathered at the start. John Miles waited a good long time before setting the ladies off, as he didn't want the E/1/2s to be embarrassed by being caught by the Women.
Those that remained adjourned for lunch at the HQ. Phew, that was a relief, and then headed out to the finish line/ feeding area.
I got on my bike and cycled round the wrong way, Mac prepared to hand up bottles, and our photographers filled the rest of the 13 mile circuit.
First off, downhill at 40 mph (I was glad I didn't have to cycle up it like the riders) then, rolling, energy sapping hillocks, then another stiff climb through the picturesque village of Great Oxendon (?), folowed by a long gentle rise back to the start, which would have been a long easy drop for the racers. All in all, half the circuit looked easy, half the circuit made up for it. I thought it would be a hard race.
Attacks went and were brought back.
Riders sat on and waited for the handful prepared to work, to work.
They came past me 3 or 4 times, each time a different configuration on the front.
I was near Haselbach when they passed the last time, triathlete Avril Swann (?) and a Luciano rider with a bit of a gap and Dorchie and Corrine working to bring them back.
I rushed around to the finish and hoped I'd be in time. So, I and other TCC riders pulled out of the race on the last lap, stood on the hill to the finish, waiting to cheer our riders on to the finish, and after an eternity, they appeared.
A TCC jersey up at the front, who was it?
Dani, who'd saved a bit and was marking, and watching carefully, previous race winner Charlie Blackman, and Dorchie in about 6th place.
We didn't see the finish, as it was over the crest of the hill, and we thought it better to be in a place to cheer.
Dani won, from a Luciano rider, and Charlie 3rd.
Dave Humphries got a great picture coming over the line with a two-handed victory salute.
A fine piece of bike-riding, and well done to Dani, for whom this is probably her best victory so far! Dorchie reckons she was about 6th, and Corrine, who, as usual had done loads more work during the race than anybody else, about 10th.
After some complicated computations, it was discovered that Twickenham CC also got the 2nd Place Team prize for this race, so a really fantastic day for the Club.
Our Ladies put up a great show, especially Denise finishing her first road race.
With a couple of monstrous climbs, she spent most of the race in a group with Lisa and a few others, but they kept the pace up, did a great job and seemed happy at the finish, always a good sign.
Back at the HQ the usual Tall Tales were told, there were a few "ifs and buts", and tea and cake were consumed at last.
We all piled into the minibus for the long journey home in the heat.
Reports of traffic congestion on the M1 resulted in a lot of people studying maps and discussing options. Some interesting navigation meant that we went across country and came home via Oxford, which was "only 45 miles extra".
It was unexpectedly dark as riders left the Clubroom car park by bike without lights, still, at least we didn't sit in traffic!
A really good fun and successful, though long day.
News of Charlotte and Liz's new tandem 24-hour record made it even better.
"Nobody said it was going to be easy"