Apparently, the difference between ‘average’ and ‘starting to not be average’ in a 10 mile time trial involves dipping under the 30 minute mark (and maintaining a minimum average speed of 20mph). After missing this much-coveted benchmark during my debut attempt a few weeks ago, Roz and Ny both assured me that – for a first go – I did well. I was shy by 33 seconds, and although it was a sustained, puke-inducing effort on my part, I wanted to see if I could do better.
Keen to give myself every possible advantage – and to beat Ny, who became ‘unshit’ during the previous TT – I started to investigate. I had already removed my bell and the reflectors on my wheels (valuable micro-grams that would slow me down, apparently!), and lacking the funds to invest in a fancy carbon bike, I felt there was only one option to assist my quest for success: the skin suit!
Unfortunately, time constraints (and budget) meant that my options were somewhat limited. However, being the uber-resourceful person that I am, I simply “up-cycled” my Hallowe’en costume from 2010:
Although Roz had opted to ditch us for some open water swimming (possibly after seeing photos of our planned outfits), Ny was thankfully game for a skin suit face off! We parked up, zipped up, and casually cycled to the TT start point, to a mainly bemused reception from some of the regular guys.
Thankfully, Bob (above in red) had left a couple of blank slots at the front, and I was back in position number 1, with Ny chasing me in 2. Apparently we didn’t need to pin numbers onto ourselves as he would, “recognize who’s who.” Go figure! The stopwatches were started, I made my way to the start line, and clipped in – ready to go!
And then I was off! My goal being to clock a respectable time in a ridiculous outfit, complete with mane. And to beat Ny.
During the first stretch I became very aware of the high neck on my lycra suit digging into my throat. Less than pleasant, for sure, and I couldn’t work out whether I had laboured breathing because I was working hard or because my airway was being cut off. I felt like I wasn’t hurting as much as the last time, though, and my heart sank a little at the possibility of recording a slower time. Trying not to think too much about it, and trying to ignore the neck on my suit, I focused on keeping a heavy gear and steady pedaling.
I reached the left hand turn and crossed the river before the second left hand turn onto the finishing straight (that happens to be several miles long). Although I felt like I wasn’t giving as much as the last time (despite being able to give no more) I didn’t let that deter my determination! In fact, it was only about half a mile from the finish line that I was finally overtaken by one of the guys, and I busted a gut trying to keep close to him, even coming out of the saddle to gain some final second speed!
Ny crossed the line uncomfortably soon afterwards, but we cycled back to the waiting spot to find out the damage. After everyone was finished, Bob came over to read out the results. The boys might have been chuckling away, but I managed to finish in 29:55! Ny gave me a solid high five, and then heard her result: 29:10!
Although I didn’t win, I can’t be too upset at my time, and I’m
secretly openly delighted that my first sub-30 came when I was in fancy dress. Verdict: (fake) skin suits get my vote!