After 2 flat 10 mile TTs – and, more importantly, 2 clear losses against friends – we were back for round 3. The original ‘undulating’ course planned for the night was apparently covered in chuckies, so Bob made the decision to swap to a ‘hilly’ 12 mile route instead. What he should have told us is that after being lulled into a false sense of security on the first section of the route, the remainder was practically vertical, but he neglected that particular detail.
Roz, Ny, and I arrived (in regular cycling clothes this time) and were given the choice of starting off first, second, or fifth. Roz was straight in claiming first, and Ny took second, which meant I had to start with the big boys. At least it meant, in theory, that I would have someone to follow. If I could keep up. The three of us were feeling confident…
As we hit 7pm, I watched Roz set off, chased a minute later by Ny, and then a couple of the Wheeler guys before I parked my front wheel at the line and clipped in for my countdown. 3-2-1-go!
Straight into a headwind. Amazing. Motivation to keep going was provided by the fact that I could see the guy who set off fourth up ahead, and I made it my goal to keep him in my sights. I managed to make it almost to the left hand turnoff at Crathes before I was overtaken, and then there was a quick descent before the beginning of the hills.
Number 4 was still up ahead, but slowing on the hill, and I caught him about 2/3 to the top. My new mission was obviously to keep him behind me, and it was about here I was firmly in the heart-attack zone. There was a welcome descent before the rest of the climb began, and I avoided looking at my speed or heart rate, and focused on getting up faster than what felt comfortable.
By the time I reached the final climb, I still hadn’t looked at my watch. I was too worried I’d look down and discover I still had miles to go, and I’d rather remain oblivious, but I was starting to struggle. I was overtaken by one of the faster guys, and had a (minimal) burst of speed trying to keep up, but as I saw him fly up into the distance I also noticed the finish! With a final “sprint”, I rolled over the line, joining the group of finishers and taking alarmingly long to re-catch my breath and await results.
We didn’t have to wait too long, and the times were music to my ears: 40:22 and my first ‘win’ (against friends) in a TT! Don’t let the photo fool you. I definitely won. I was just too busy feeling like I was going to throw up to celebrate.