I went no faster or slower than the bunch I rode with. The trick is get the bunch and hang in there. Get in early to get up the front - 4.30am. BTW i am 50 so anyone can do it.
Great time and at a good age I turn 50 in two weeks and managed a really good time. Looking at how much time you spend on your bike shows the benefit of riding lots to maintain fitness and form.
Cheers and well done.