The outdoor/real world season got underway for me at the weekend. I travelled down to Bishopton, near Glasgow, with the other Fifer. A 27KM 2up team time trial hosted by Dooley’s was to be the first outing (for me).
Other Fifer is a muck slinger. This means he doesn’t actually ever get to claim he’s “started” his season because it basically never ends. When proper cycling finishes for the Winter, he starts riding about on things with tyre widths similar to that of a car. In other words, he has no reason to blame for not being fit and strong, as his racing season is endless. That leads us perfectly onto my series of excuses as to why I was totally shit, whilst he, was super strong.
05:00. It’s a Lovely Time of Day:
It honestly is a lovely time of the day. Most people would shiver at the thought of it. Chris and I are absolutely fine with it though as we are often up at that time on a Sunday cramming down porridge before a 06:00 start on the bikes. 05:00 meant quiet roads and plenty of time to cover the distance to HQ.
We arrived at 09:00 on the dot. Perfect for our 10:13 start time.
Warming up was not great. We’ve both established that a trainer or rollers is an absolute must for TT’s to ensure you get a consistent & structured warmup. It might be that for some courses you have a great array of roads to warm up on but you cannot guarantee it. That’s especially the case when it is a course you have never been to before. It’s not worth the risk.
The warmup consisted of an easy pedal to the start line. Then a few bouts of back and forth between the start line and a roundabout 500m back down the road. It really was not ideal but we have nobody to blame on this other than ourselves.
As soon as we got off the line I had that horrible moment of realisation. I had no legs. It wasn’t a case of even thinking I would settle into it and they would come good. I knew from the first five seconds that I was in for a horrible time on the course. My biggest worry, in all honesty, was that I was letting Chris down. He came all this way with me and we both wanted to start our time trial season on a high….
Here I am, holding him back, ruining the day and letting him down.
There was a few very rough moments in the early KM’s. Chris dropped me on the slight drag uphill into the meaty headwind. I did manage to redeem myself ever so slightly on the return sections where we had a tailwind. Don’t get me wrong, everything was down numbers wise, but I was at least pulling some weight and proving to be of some use to Chris.
Detour onto the M8 Motorway:
We didn’t drive the course and we didn’t know the course. After a 05:00 start and near enough 4 hours of driving, we neglected the course check. The fact we missed the sliproad from the dual carriageway to turn for the second lap was completely our own fault. We do, however, maintain that a simple little arrow to direct us at the sliproad would have prevented us from ending up on the M8. Adding a little bit of CX to the time trial was pretty funny though! We hopped the crash barrier and ran down the steep verge to re-mount our bikes on the slip road before continuing on our way…. It was a chunk of time lost but nowhere near the time chunks I was throwing away for us into the headwind.
All in all it was a great day out on our bikes despite some self inflicted drama. Dooley’s put on a perfectly organised event and for the time of year managed to get us some decent weather as well.
Chris had never participated in a CTT event before so he finally got to see how smoothly and hassle free they are.
It’s a first one done and dusted which is the main thing. The reality of travelling and racing was rust-busted. Thankfully Chris is actually a superb friend and despite my worries of letting him down, he was very understanding and enjoyed his day regardless. That’s what friendship is about. Understanding the up’s and down’s and knowing your mate well enough to deal with them in all situations.
Cycle Photography Scotland:
Gary from Cycle Photography Scotland does a fantastic job of capturing us suffering. He is out there in all weathers and gets images online so quickly after the events. We are very lucky to have people like this within our sport and I just wanted to say thanks and show my appreciation for that here.
All of the images here in the blog post were taken by Cycle Photography Scotland and online by the time we got back home to Dingwall. Thank you very much Gary, keep up the excellent work and I will see you through my pain face at many more events this year, I am sure!