Monday, April 23, 2012

How not to compete in a Time Trial


The sun sets behind the last group of guys
 Last week I completed my first Lowes Time Trial. I know a lot of people have competed in the past and I was mildly excited to also give it a try but the TT had two purposes for me 1) to try out some new equipment  and 2) to act as a bit of a tension breaker going into my first triathlon of the season. I was pretty anxious going into this event but I am not sure why. I guess I just had no idea what to expect. I was thinking it was a lot more formal than in turned out to be. My only experience with time trialing is with triathlon and swimming so I expected a strict adherence to the timeline. Fortunately it really is a bit of a free-for-all which gave me room to relax a bit more as all I had to do was get to the start at some point and go – a very nice change of pace.

I took the opportunity to test out my first aerohelmet, wheelcover, and Adamo saddle. I have also never raced with my powermeter so I was very interested to see how my numbers might differ from training to racing, road bike to tri bike. Getting to the speedway, it was interesting to see all kinds of bikes, set ups, and abilities. Getting my number I hopped on my bike for a quick 25 minute warm up. James and I spent a significant amount of time admiring ourselves in the reflection of the building’s window which we were facing. Admiring may not be the right word but we engaged in a discussion regarding our aero-ness based on our reflections which lead to a copius amount of flexing by the other party. 

I rolled to the start feeling like a dweeb in an aerohelmet and faced my biggest fear, no not the time trial, the start. The start of a time trial event involves someone holding your bike so when it is time to go you start pedaling rather than clip in and then start pedaling. I was a little nervous about this process as I have had someone hold the back of my bike before and I just could not relax enough to not unclip. I did not want to repeat this behavior as it makes you look like a noob who can’t handle her bike. Well I got on my bike, the guy grabbed the back . . .

and well. . .

I freaked. I screamed, “You’re going to drop me! You’re going to drop me! Why am I leaning!?! You’re going to drop me!”  and very quickly my time ran out, the light turned green, I clipped in, and took off. As I laughed nervously to myself I could picture my coach shaking his bowed head whispering “chicks.” He he he . . . oh well.

The time trial is 10 miles total or 7 laps on the 1.5 mile track. Unfortunately for us, a brewing weather change stirred up quite a bit of wind. The swirling wind became not only a physical challenge but also a technical one. Since it was the first time using what is essentially a disc, I had to be extra careful not to get blown over. Occasionally I would turn a corner or pass a cyclist and suddenly my bike would jump a foot over. This time I did try to stay relaxed. As the laps went by I got more and more comfortable with my position on the Adamo saddle, effort, and the wind’s wily ways. As my time trial came to an end I maneuvered towards the exit. In the exit there are several signs encouraging you to test your brakes, prepare to stop, put your bike in neutral yada yada yada. . . I guess I was in tri mode because when I saw these signs I just sat up and basically prepared to come to a full stop like I would have to at the dismount line at a triathlon. Well that is not quite how it works . . . oh well once again.

Ok so I have lots to learn but it was a fun experience and I hope to do another one this summer. I think the wind played a significant role in slowing down all the participants and I was happy to walk away as the third fastest female of the evening.  

My award? Getting home to find a large box filled with Blueseventy swag! Perfect timing for my upcoming triathlon . . . !