Auckland ITT championships
I have never been a great fan of Time Trials (TT’s).
I have always found that I go better struggling to hang-on to the bunch or, if I am lucky, sitting in the middle and getting sucked along. The whole TT thing of suffering alone with nothing but the sound of me gasping for air as comfort has never really appealed to me.
But because this year the calendar had ticked over enough times that I was now a Veteran and didn’t have to do a whole 40km but a more reasonable distance of 25km I thought why not give it a go, it’s only 25km after all, how hard can it be?
I started off by discussing my goals with my coach Amy Taylor from Kinetic Edge, and she went ahead and put together a programme to help me build-up for the Auckland TT Champs on Sunday, September 3.
I was lucky enough to be lent a very nice TT bike and a set of carbon deep-rimmed wheels by a good friend who had decided to take a break from time trialling for awhile. His decision came after a particularly nasty experience down in New Plymouth in the freezing cold and rain but that’s another story. I noticed the difference straight away between a purpose-built TT machine and the clip on bars that I had been bolting on the night before the odd waterfront TT. I was quite disappointed as I had been telling myself I didn’t need a TT bike as it wouldn’t make any difference. As it turns out I think it might be true what they say: “Time Trialling is the only discipline that you can buy yourself time”. So now that I had all the gear and the programme all I had to do was get out there and start training.
After plenty of interval training (three minutes at maximum effort can seem like a long time), heading out to Aka Aka, Waiuku and pre-riding the course (just like the pro’s do), numerous emails back and forth with Amy about how to pace myself (I decided it was better to tape over my heart rate display as knowing it was going through the roof was of no benefit) I felt I was ready to go.
The big day finally came around. It was a week later than originally planned due to it clashing with a school event. The later date was good for me though as I can always use more time to prepare.
The weather was looking a little grey and there were a few light drops of rain on the drive out to Aka Aka but once there the rain disappeared and it was looking like a great day for a ride. There was a slight head wind on the course on the way out but at least there was a nice tailwind to help us home. I was lucky being a Vet that the course meant only riding out and back. I certainly didn’t envy the under 23’s and Open Men who had to do two laps of the course. I would have hated to have slogged my way upwind knowing that I would have to go back and repeat it all again.
Once there I got all kitted up and jumped on the bike for a good long warm up, going up and down the road just along from the start line and getting comfortable on the bike. One thing I have learnt is that you have to do a good warm up so you hit the start line already sweating and breathing hard but not so much that you’re buggered before you even start.
The warm up went well and I hit the start line feeling like this could be a good day for me. 5,4,3,2,1 go go go and I am off.
I always find the first 5 minutes the hardest but today it was not too bad. I could see my minute man in front of me and used him to “pull” myself along. I had just passed my minute man when all of a sudden I felt the rear of the bike start to move around. This can’t be good I thought as I looked down. Sure enough the tyre was looking decidedly flat. My first thought was to just increase the pace and really nail it and I might make it to the half way mark, then at least I would have accomplished half of something. However, as I started around a bend and the back end of the bike started to slide out I realised pushing it and breaking borrowed equipment was not a good idea. Ten minutes into it and my TT was over for the day.
While standing on the side of the road waiting for my lift home I had a bit of time to reflect on the whole experience. Firstly, I am going to put “check tyres for glass and debris” on the pre-race check list after picking out the offending sliver of glass from the tyre.
While it was disappointing not to have finished the race and seen where I would have placed against the other competitors I learnt a lot. I even started to enjoy the pain of pushing myself and hearing myself gasping for breath.
It was a great day and another well run event by Auckland Cycling and Counties Manukau. Give Time Trials a go, who knows you may even start to like it too.
Matt Till is a Vet 1 rider who riding for Counties Manukau Club and this year will attend his first nationals. He is from an elite sailing background and in an engineer who over the coming year will give us an insight into Veteran's racing and also the technical side of the sport through an up and coming column "Tech Toolbox."