A First Time Trial, I Knew This Would Hurt

There comes a time in cycling when the phrase Time Trial rears its head. Fortunately to date I had no reason to take the bait but when son David took to the challenge I felt somewhat compelled to give it a go. Now I realise at my time of life I am not going to worry Wiggins or Cancellara but without at least trying this form of punishment a nagging doubt would remain. Done properly it looks easy, free-flowing and elegant but hurts like hell.

The first step was research,  a recce of the course and a bit of lurking to watch an event. The wise words of the web suggest splitting the “race of truth” into four quarters and don’t go out too quick. There was also mention of shaving your legs but that was certainly a step too far and would not be happening. The maths suggest that for the 10 mile circuit to break thirty minutes you need to average 20mph and that was the first obstacle as my normal average is about 16mph I could feel the seeds of doubt already.

So cometh the day and I decided to ride the four miles to the start as my warm up. On arrival I discovered as well as the 10 mile course it was also the Alton CC club 25 championship which the majority were opting for so at least I could hide in the shadows. I did feel a bit intimidated as one competitor was warming up on a turbo amid an array of dedicated carbon time trial bikes, aero helmets and wheels but at least there was one other club member on a normal road bike so I paid my £2 and collected my number 15.

After watching 14 others take off it was my time and as the starter called 30 seconds my bike was supported, I clipped in and after the five second count down I was off. The careful planned strategy of not going off too fast went out of the window as I went hell for leather to get the speed to 20mph into a headwind. After the first 2.5 miles I was gasping for air and realising I had already probably blown it but a slight descent at least gave me respite to recover. Bad went to worse as I was passed by No 16 and all I could do was admire his smooth style on the aero bars and seemingly effortless pedal stroke.  I managed to get to the roundabout which signalled the half way point in 15 minutes, at least for the second half I would have the wind behind me.

The third quarter felt just as hard but I managed pushing a big gear and a bit of wind assistance to get the speed to 23mph, it really was a case of all the gears and no idea and I felt no better as a tandem went past as if I was standing still. The last quarter was on the whole downhill and with a final push I watched the speed on the GPS  gradually increase to 27 and then briefly 30 mph. I crossed the finish line flat-out and collected a time of 28:24 which is better than I dared hope for.

In a perverse way I can see the attraction of this form of corporal punishment although I think I need to polish up the technique and improve my stamina. Inadvertently I found myself on the Wiggle site looking at clip on tri-bars so I guess I am in for a bit more pain.

Now where is that razor !!

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