I had heard of the races’ short but brutal nature last year and managed to get an entry in for the final round for which the course was frozen solid. This, as Sunday proved, had given me a false sense of the course being ‘undulating but nowhere near as bad as people had said.
Sunday was quite the opposite. Unlocked by what can only have been conditions marginally above freezing and lubricated by relentless horizontal rain the course was unrecognisable from the one I had remembered. The River Nene had decided the best option was to split up and branch out into, well, all areas of the course and the Quadmire which I had sniffed at having danced across it last winter to take a comfortable win came back to bite me. Or swallow me, which is perhaps more appropriate. Following on from last week Tom Stead was once more up there with me on the first run, the two of us running shoulder to shoulder and each stopping at various points to help lift the other back out of the quagmire in a most sporting manner forced more by reciprocal hope of survival than good sportsmanship. As soon as we got onto the bike, Tom opened up a smallish gap on me which to his credit he held all the way to the finish. He's really come on over the last year and I look forward to some tasty battles with him on the Waddenhoe course this winter.