So, I thought I’d try out the Sidney Time Trial as part of my elaborate summer plan of, “fart around on bikes and have lots of fun.” It’s a two-loop 17.4 km course with two tight corners and a few very gentle rollers. Gentle, that is, until you hit them when you’re tired.
As I rode out to the race site, I discovered an important thing: Backpacks, full of spare bits and pieces, and time trial equipment are not made for each other. First, geeky pointy helmets smuck into backpacks. Second, if you are wearing a super-slick skinsuit and lay down horizontally in your aero bars, your backpack will slide off the suit and wallow about your sides. This is neither aero, nor comfortable, nor safe. I wasn’t that surprised when odd lower back pain surfaced. I fretted. I thought really hard about scratching from the race. “Yessssss,” said my raceophobic self. “Back pain is a legitimate way out of this.” But I got there, registered, stretched, and warmed up, and decided it didn’t hurt so much any more, so started.
No back pain. But after the first lap, a terrible side-stitch. (Memo to file: maybe a banana 10 minutes before a crushing ride in a deep tuck is a bad plan). I thought really hard about scratching. But, lo – it faded away and I finished nice and strong. I suspect both pains were actually in my head.
This is my first time on the course, so the time was meaningless to me. I ran into Mr. Cool, the Paralympic coach and nice guy. He asked me how I did. “26:30,” I said. “Is that good?”
The faintest of smiles flickered over his face. “All times are good. And now you have a good baseline to ride from.”
“Thank you, Sensei,” I thought.
Then I ran into Mr. Affirmation, the coach for my club’s juniors. He asked me how I did. “26:30,” I said. “Is that good?”
“HOLY CRAP,” he said. “I think you just rode the fastest non-elite women’s time of the year,” he said. “In fact, I’d bet that’s an age group course record!!”
“No way, you nutbar,” I thought.
But it turns out he was very right.
Well, well, well. I may be a terrible, terrible road racer (I get dropped as soon as the pack surges), but all this time running has sure taught me how to put my head down and grind it out. Will have to go out for the next round of sprint-for-the-mailbox to get my ego properly back in check.