SAN JOSE BIKE
CLUB TEAM TIME TRIAL
do you get when you team up a world champion masters time trialist
(Larry), a former pro triathlete (Stephen), a guy who finishes in between
them in time trials (Bernhard), and Gingerman
making his 40 km TT debut? A Gingerman more intimately familiar with the forms of pain one can
experience on a bicycle.
We called our team the Early Risers, after the early-morning rides
we did last year until moving and job-switching messed up our group.
was my first 40 km TT and the only one I've done on a road bike, and my
teammates are good at this kind of thing. I was worried about getting in over my head.
been told that a team trial is a difficult event, and this one was
difficult to analyze. It took me so long that my teammates noticed that I didn't send out
a report right away. (Must be how I feel when Sting takes more than 24 hours to report
on a race!) I didn't expect a TTT to be easy, but I was surprised by the
difficulties. I didn't think our team would have two crashes and a guy getting
course was a five-mile loop, with one traffic light, two stop signs, and a
left (i.e. crossing traffic) turn. As the organizers explained, this was a club race in December and
not the Olympics. Five times, 25 miles = 40 km. It was raining earlier in the
morning, so the roads were wet in part, and it started raining during the
race. We agreed that we were going to err on the side of caution around
There was also a power hill, about 100 feet, and in steepness,
somewhere between the bridge OM likes to sprint up and Mt.Faber. The wind was such that there was a headwind on the flat part, and
trees and the hill made any tailwind not too useful.
crash in the first lap took me out, at the base of the hill, not a part of
the course we were worried about. I was behind Stephen, overlapped his wheel for what I thought would
be just a brief second as my first standing pedal stroke moved me forward. When he stood, he moved to the right, and we touched wheels. The road was slick, so there wasn't much room to recover. I had expected he would move left (toward the middle of the road) so
we could pass a team ahead of us.
until that point, I was already hanging on for dear life, I think in part
because I wasn't warmed up. We rode two practice laps, one pretty hard, and as hard as we could
up the hill to see that we could stick together, but I didn't stay warm
after that, so I was stiff on the first lap.
My rollers lost a nut on the way to the race, so I didn't roll like
I would have liked.
once my bike was rolling again (both brakes were rubbing), I kept
time-trailing just in case my time was needed or someone else had a
problem, but I was on my own. The time is taken from the third man, and who knows what could
happen? It's no fun when a road race turns into a time trial, but when a
time trial turns into a time trial, you've gotta go through with it!
was starting to get cramps up the hill on the fourth lap, and the fifth
really hurt. I got cramps in my right leg as soon as I lifted it over my bike at
the end of the race. No surprise.
That morning, I had coffee and a third of a small water bottle to
drink. I went through the one bottle of Gatorade I had on my bike. Drinking in a TT was not as much of a problem as I thought, but I
should have had much more to drink that morning.
any case, I ended up doing 12 minute laps. My computer said 1:05:15 when I crossed the line, but since it was
almost at 18 minutes after one lap, I believe I forgot to reset it at the
start, and it had an extra five or six minutes. I didn't think I'd be looking at it or that it mattered in a team
time trial, preferring speed and cadence, but I switched the display from
cadence to time once I was on my own.
HR was at 172 (91.4%), except up the hill and on the third lap when
my mind wandered.
So I think my time on my own was about an hour (ignoring the
crash), 59 minutes if I want to flatter myself. The fastest team was 52 minutes, something. It was definitely the hardest hour-long ride of my life.
back at the main part of the team, Bernard touched Larry's wheel and
crashed in one of the 90 degree turns.
At the left turn immediately after, Stephen kept going straight,
and had to double back. The official time was 55 minutes, which we unofficially think is
third of 24 teams.
Warm up and stay warm. (I need to count how many times I've learned to
Just because they're your teammates doesn't mean their wheel will go
exactly where you think it will Be careful.
Pre-riding the course is very useful. (Except for the track and a lap at crits, I don't usually do that.)
Be hydrated, even if it's cold and rainy.
Speak up to teammates, even if you remember being a total newbie in their
Early Bird mentoring sessions.
real racing season starts on the first Sunday in January. Well, not the real season, but the Early Bird crits, which was my
very first bicycle race three years ago. Raced the whole thing in my small chainring.