A solo Time Trial means 100% individual effort against the clock over whichever distance the course covers, be it 10 miles or 100 miles, or any other distance for that matter. More importantly it means 100% pain.
Surely sharing such a burden with two others during a team time trial means shouldering only one third of the burden, and only 33% of the pain?
That was the thinking when Jason, Norrie and I entered Kinross Cycling Club’s Three (man) Ten (mile) Team Time Trial. Unfortunately, due to an uncomfortable injury, Jason had to withdraw his entry. Luckily another willing victim was found in the form of Graeme and the team remained intact. Both Graeme and Norrie had clocked well under 28’30” in a recent solo 10 miler, so I was hoping the two big diesel engines would drag me around the course in a time we could all be happy with.
As race-day approached a second three-man team from within the ranks of Stirling Bike Club was taking shape: the SBC ‘Elite’ squad of Charlie, Glen and Steve. They would be fighting our ‘Three and Easy’ equipe for the SBC honours, while both teams would be competing against clubs across Scotland, with the home club being well-represented by three teams hoping that their knowledge of local roads would help them defeat all-comers.
The organizers had given the teams the option of riding aero with tribars, deep rims / disc wheels and pointy hats etc, or to ride on normal road bikes. We had opted for the latter.
The first trio was off at 9.30 and sign-on was a few miles away from the start line, so after an early muster and chit chat, we rolled out to the start/finish area to warm up and check out the set up.
The course had three left turns which brought the riders back almost to the start line and we were able to reccy the run up to the finish from the final turn. There were nice clear signs marking 1km and 500m to go. We talked about how we would wind up to a sprint for a blanket finish, then realized we’d be burst by then and we’d have to hope for the best.
We rolled up to the holding line, where there was a nice big digital clock to tell us what time it was, like something from a track meet.
A course marshal checked who we were and gave us some info about what to expect at the start line and out on the course. A couple of minutes of chat about how we should line up at the start and then on to the start line proper, where three pushers held us in position while we steadied ourselves and watched the clock tick down and peep when time was up.
And then it really was time for us to go…
I had the responsibility of setting us up for a good start and pushed hard out of the blocks to pull us up the rise and into the first mile of the course. We had talked about setting a high tempo without going in the red, so as soon as I felt close to the danger zone I eased up and realized I had probably set off a little bit too hard and would pay for it down the road! Sure enough at the end of my second spell I was struggling to hold the wheel and we became a little fragmented. After a few seconds to regroup we pushed on again and settled into a good rhythm with each rider taking spells on the front.
We were rolling ok at this point and took the first turn off a main road into a minor side road. It seemed a little easier on this stretch and the tempo and speed started to climb. Graeme and Norrie were fairly flying at this point and we made it to the next turn in no time, being heckled along the way by some old-timer for being 10 seconds slow (no idea what that meant!). At this junction we were merging onto another, busy, main road, and this was slightly more difficulty. We had to slow up and regroup again after the junction, then our speed dropped as we bit into another gradient.
The team crested the wee rise and picked up speed as Graeme and Norrie pulled us up to +40km/h over the next couple of miles.
I think I may have had an out of body experience at this point, but I managed to hold it together and get on the front during this section.
It wasn’t long before we reached the final turn and knew the race was almost over, was that my dad waving a red marshal flag on the corner? I think so, but we’re not stopping to find out now! And on to the final 1.5 miles as we picked up a bit of a headwind in the last drag. I definitely had an out-of-body experience here, as did Graeme (Norrie too I’m sure!) and we pushed hard to get over the line.
And all too soon, or should that be not soon enough(?), we were over the line and gasping for air, trying not to fall off our bikes after that supreme effort. It seems that a three man time trial still means 100% pain!
Our time was a respectable 27’29”.
And as Norrie pointed out this will be the fastest any of us will do a 10miler for some time!
In the end the SBC ‘Elite’ team took club honours, beating us by just under a minute (26’35’’), so well done to Charlie, Glen & Steve.
The overall and Aero cat winners were Bicycle Works with a time of 21’40.
And City of Edinburgh won the Road cat with 22’27”.
So well done to those guys too.
This was a cracking event, well-thought out and organized and I hope I can enter this next year with the same team to see if we can improve on our time. Big thanks and well done to my team-mates and to KCC.
You can see more results at Kinross CC website