|15th June, 2003, Individual Time
This is a brief story about the time trial. I cannot write a report as
I have learned that the time-keeping was not well planned. Times for a
large number of riders were in dispute. As a result, there was a lot of
controversy with the MTB trophies that were given out being returned in
protest. I later found out that the timekeepers were asked to record time
and riders' numbers for each LAP on blank pieces of A4!
THE RACE COURSE AND FORMAT
The Race Course was at Changi Coast Road, just behind the airport. It
was about 6.5 km out and the same distance back. It is flat and quite
windy. There is plenty of shade from trees. The main obstacles on the
course are 3 sets of speed strips, each with about 10 strips spaced 5 feet
apart and an inch thick. These strips span the road and you have to over
each set twice per lap. Cars going over them will rattle. Imagine going
over them on 23mm 120 PSI tires.
Cyclists go out at 30 second intervals. Depending on their category,
they can do anything between 1 and 3 laps. Originally the loop was 42km in
distance but that was cut short because of the construction that occured
at the end of the road. As a result, the terminus of the race was placed
at the exit of the Changi Ferry Terminal.
The race starts at 8:30 pm with the roller bladers going out for a 1
lap race. They complete and the cyclists start.
I finish warming up further up along the road and come down to the
start-finish line. I find a shady spot where I watch the Sports Cat boys
going off. A lot of gear is present today. Skinsuits, Disc Wheels, Aero
Bars and Aero Helmets. I am all decked out too. Met Pac IV helmet, Profile
Split Second Bars, Etxe-Ondo skinsuit, shoe-covers, CH-AERO wheel covers.
The works. Lippy commented that I looked like Michael Rich of Gerolsteiner...
Yeah, Gerolsteiner uses Met Helmets as well so that's where the
resemblance comes in. Now, if only I had the shaved legs of Rich. Actually
I did play around with the idea of buying Veet as recommended by Beef.
However, I was too lazy to walk to the pharmacy to get it so its hairy
legs this time.
I am sitting on the grass looking at the numbers. Pak comes and sits
down beside me as we watch the Sports Cat going off. In the long queue, I
notice something strange... Two guys wear the same BLACK NUMBERS of 45.
Black Numbers are worn by the Open Cat. It was like the scene from the
first Matrix movie where Neo saw two black cats...Deja Vu. What a mess.
One of the riders was told about the numbers and he went back to the
registration tent to try and have his numbers changed. Well, I don't think
he succeeded because number 45 turned up twice in the finishing times
leading to some more dispute in the Open Cat rankings later on.
Pain calls the Open Cat to the start-finish. Lippy starts slightly
ahead of me. OldMan is at the start-finish taking photos. Sandman is
hanging out somewhere in the background watching (his duties as General
Manager of SACA takes him to almost every race on the calendar as he has
to pack equipment away). Legstrong is counting down to the start-times.
Gee, TeamAbsolut seems to have people working at plenty of the races. This
time, the only TeamAbsolut racers were me and Lippy. We have more
worker-bees than racers this time. Betcha next year, we can hold our own
I am on the start line, the last rider in the Open Cat ITT. The bike
holder is the President of SACA himself. First time I am starting a local
ITT in a standing start. OldMan tries to distract at the start, muttering
"Dead batteries!" Classic TeamAbsolut tactic..."If you
can't beat 'em, DISTRACT 'em?!!" But why is he doing it on me? "OldMan,
its me, Sting!" Must be the helmet and skinsuit - he probably thinks
I'm Michael Rich's younger cousin or something....
"10 seconds!" says Legstrong. OldMan keeps muttering
something. I push his dataflow to the deepest recesses of my head. I
breath in hard a few times, getting ready to fly. I just hope the Prez
doesn't let go too early and I fall.
"GO!" I am off. I start in the 52x14. I am a potato-masher
this year. To maintain a head of steam, I find that I need to keep the big
gear ticking over. I find that my times improve if I grind my way to a
steady cadence instead of sprinting away. The entire race I am in my
52x13, the largest gear I have. It helps in floating over the irritating
paint strips as well.
I maintain a cadence of 70-73 rpm for the gear. At 72 rpm,
AnalyticCycling.com says the speed is just above 40kph. I was impressed. I
was aiming for an average of 37 kph. I take all the strips in the first
lap on my aerobars.
That was a big mistake. On the second lap, the first time I hit the
strips, the right aero bar works loose and swings skyward. Dang. This is
going to cost me time. I don't panic. I can still use them for an aero
position. I gingerly rest my right arm on the pad, grab the front end and
lock my left and right fingers together forming a nice stable platform.
All this at 37kph too. Hoo-yeah. It would have been better if the aero-bar
had not been loosened at all but there you have it.
Before I knew it, it was into the last lap and I started to give it
some stick. Then I was turning the final corner and sprinting for the
line. My official time (hmm, can I trust it? My flight deck harness had
not been working for a month and so I couldn't time myself) is 55min
40sec. So it is 39.8 kilometres per hour. And I could walk properly after
the race!!! So I definitely could have gone faster.
Unfortunately, while the racing was good (we had people like Peter
Sharman, Arab and Kale Buonerba (the Airborne Guy) doing speeds of around
43kph) the results took forever. People were left hanging around in a
carpark until after 12 noon before some kind of results were
announced...only to have them in dispute!
Lippy was fast enough to be awarded fourth and I managed to get into
the prize list with 8th. On the other hand, Lippy and I had a look at the
results list and we found that Lippy should actually be third and the #5
guy (#45 - Mr Deja Vu) should not be there at all! That means I would have
Anyway I am not going to make a big fuss about the medals. I don't care
about the medals or ranking in an ITT. I only care about my timing. I am
motiviated by improvement and I want to see improvement in my timing.
Compared to last year's 34.6kph, I am extremely happy.
Next up, the team time trial!!! TeamAbsolut is in a bit of stasis. I
had hoped that this year, Sandman, Fangio, Porky or Holyman might step up
to bat in the Team effort. Machoman, Lippy and myself can't run it alone.
Well, since Porky has a new piglet in the family, he can't train that
much. Holyman has to rest on the 7th day. Sandman and Fangio are now
OFFICIALS in SACA. Officials just don't have much time to train. Ha. All
that potential untapped. We might have to a little merger with another
Speaking of officials in SACA, I was surprised to find some cyclists
who blamed Sandman for the timing fiasco of the ITT. They keep saying that
he's the only full time employee of SACA and therefore he was supposed to
make sure the race ran smoothly. Well I don't know about that. It is true
that he is the only full time employee, but I don't think its his job to
RUN THE RACE. His is mostly an administrative position. Road races are run
by a Race Director and it is the Race Director who does all the planning
and execution. On the other hand, I was very happy to see very positive
offers of help coming in from Lippy, Kale and others who wanted to help
sort out the timings.
This time, the race director was my friend Chan. He's the new VP of
Road cycling and I think he would have gotten a good understanding of the
amount of care needed to run a race after his first ITT. Hopefully, it
would be planned much better in the future.