A Time Trial is a bicycle race of 10 or 20Km where you pedal as fast as possible. Instead, I chose to gradually improve fitness this year and just ease into training.
There was no one in my age category to race with. I could easily win by default for just signing up and then racing the final competition in August.
That night I went to bed wearing gold and silver medals won during my last race 2 years ago where I rode against the clock without a speedometer. That race was a race to manage one’s speed and arrive back at a predicted time. The medals I wore to bed were comforting. This race would be my first Time Trial riding at maximum speed with a speedometer.
The race was only a few days away. There was no time to train and make any fitness gains. I decided to rest up a lot instead, forcing myself to remain in bed and rest even though this was difficult. I didn’t feel like resting after all the extra sleep I had lately.
The rain stayed away but it was very wind. The route was over rolling hills.
As the group left the arena and cycled leisurely to the start line a few kilometres away, I noticed that no one was doing a warm up.
I dropped down into my lowest gear and started pedalling fast to warm up. We climbed a hill and I eased into a higher gear and pedalled easily to the start line.
The 20Km cyclists lined up ahead of me. I was the first 10Km rider. Every 30 seconds the front cyclist in the line would race off. Finally it came my turn. The jitters faded away and I was given the signal to race.
Within a half km I was into my deep breathing routine and pedalling at an effort I felt I could sustain. Within about 1 km I sped by the first cyclist like he was standing still.
A short time later, passed another. Then even more slowly passed a 3rd racer. At the 10Km turn around I was only a short distance from passing a 4th cyclist. I had gained almost 2 minutes on the racers ahead of me.
The return trip had me passing another 10 racers. People were cheering me on, apparently quite pleased with my speed.
The last few kilometres up hill into the wind was tough. The pace I sustained seemed easy at first but as the hill and wind worked against me, the effort increased. I was struggling to maintain my best effort.
I passed the finish line marker and pedalled slowly back to the arena where I discovered that I was the first one back. This felt very unusual.
My speed was 31.6kph average. Tom said I rode a very smart and good race.
The time keeper said that having ridden a heavy bike and having turned in such a low time meant I had cycling skills. I was surprised by her comment. I have been told before I had talent but was never quite sure what to do with it.
I was surprised too that I had turned in such a low time. Gold medal. 1st place.
I had raced myself and turned in my best time ever. Sometimes all that keeps us from success is getting out of our own way, put aside the nervousness and doubts, and just do your best.