This evening was my first experience of loitering around on an A-road lay-by dressed in Lycra with a number stuck to my back. Fortunately this unusual activity preceded the more exciting first experience of proper time-trial racing. It all started by having to endure a stressful ten minutes getting dressed and then setting up my bike from the back of my car with a giant Alsatian barking incessantly at me. Admittedly this was self-inflicted after choosing to park directly outside a farm entrance, however as I pedalled off to the TT rendezvous I started to have doubts that maybe my helmet was on back-to-front or my wheels weren’t properly attached to the frame. Next time I’ll find a more peaceful place to park!
I arrived at the start, paid my entry fee and received my race number. I then had the privilege of my race number being pinned to my jersey by local TT legend Paul Jones of traumfahrrad fame. I’ve been reading his blog for ages now which largely interested and inspired me enough to join my local cycling club and have a go at time-trialing. So it was nice to finally meet him. I also had a chat with a few of the other cyclists who were all equally friendly and freezing cold. It was cold and windy.
When my time came I set off at a steady pace and slowly worked my way up to a level which I felt I could maintain. There was a strong headwind on the outward leg so I tried to ignore my speed and just concentrate on gauging my effort. It was also my first time using the clip on TT bars since last summer so I also needed to concentrate on my balance, especially when a couple of lorries hurtled past and replaced the headwind with a swirl of turbulence.
Just before the halfway point and the turnaround I overtook my minute man. This obviously felt excellent. All way out I had been looking forward to the tailwind of the return leg and it was a great relief to finally feel its benefit and see my speed going up to a constant 23 – 24 mph. I was just starting to have thoughts of catching another person when I was overtaken. This was humbling. I actually heard him before I saw him and when I finally caught up with him (after the finish line obviously) I told him that he’d sounded more like a car than a bike. It was quite scary.
I completed the 5.2 miles in 14:44 at an average speed of 21 mph. But the most important thing was that I really enjoyed the experience and will be back again next week for some more …