SACA ROAD RACE 3 -
INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL
The race of truth. Nowhere to hide. Man and machine
against the wind. All of these phrases have been used to describe the
Individual Time Trial. It has made great champions and broken many others.
Greg LeMond won his time trial on the last day of the 1989 Tour de France.
His closest competitor for the Yellow Jersey, Laurent Fignon could not
match his performance and lost the race by 8 seconds on that penultimate
stage. Jan Ullrich tried to make up time on Lance in last year’s Tour in
the ITT and crashed in the rain ending his bid to deny Lance his 5th
This year’s ITT was held, as it is every year, at
Changi Coastal Road. 5 Absolutees were slated to ride. Sam and Lippy in
the Open Cat, Road Runner and Beef in the Masters and Diesel in the Super
Masters. Racer’s were due to be dispatched in 30 second intervals in no
particular order other then when their entries were received (or so it
seemed). 30 seconds was long enough to keep you out of sight of the next
starter for a while and short enough for you to get the guy in front of
you in your sights to chase down. Rules were pretty strict this year with
regards to bikes, with no TT specific equipment other than the now ever
present tri bars being allowed. This would help to explain the lack of
participation from the triathlete set this year.
First casualty on the day of the race, Beef. Nursing
some mild flu symptoms on Friday, it turned into a full blown bout of the
dreaded flu by Saturday night. Taking advice from the team doctor, he
erred on the side of caution and withdrew from the race. But we still had
Road Runner, who with the addition of his tri bars, had been leading out
the TTT sprints at a currently classified high speed.
First up to the line, Lippy. With Oldman and Beef
playing support crew, the race against the clock was on. 3 rounds, 39
kilometers of pain, 39km to glory. In a car going at 40 km/h, it all seems
pretty relaxed. Lippy was cruising along coastal eating up the distance
between himself and the guy in front of him. One of his goals for the ride
was to keep out of sight of Nick, who was starting 30 seconds behind him.
A few places behind him, Sam rolled to the starting line. He had no
support vehicle as we had nothing to support him with. Sam is one of only
2 guys in Team Absolut riding with the new 10 speed Dura Ace group.
Getting a flat in a race like this would be difficult to recover from even
with a quick wheel change, but the time taken for a tube change would make
it impossible. So we left Sam to fend for himself while we followed Lippy
with our 9 speed wheels.
One of the things that you get to do when following
someone on support is you get to study their riding style. Oldman and Beef
both had only good things to say about Lippy and Sam’s conduct on the
bike. “Silky smooth, no wasted evergy. Upper body completely still.
Amazing.” The only time they would come out of their tucks was on the
turns and then it was back down to beat the wind.
Lippy finished his last lap with a sprint to the
line. He placed 7th in his cat. Sam finished his race in 3rd
place. Kale from Cycleworx was the fastest finisher on the day but we
still claim Sam as the unofficial ‘local individual time trial
Next up, Roadrunner. The support vehicle has followed
Lippy to the end and had missed his start. By the time we caught up with
him, he was almost at the first turnaround. This guy was hauling ass! As
he headed back to the finish, we pulled over to wait for him to emerge
from the turn around. After a couple of minutes, Diesel emerged. A few
frantic phone calls to Sting at the start line and we confirmed our worst
fears, Road Runner had pulled out of the race. Too much tinkering with the
position on the bike had caused his knee to hurt from almost the beginning
of the ride. After TTT, he had adjusted the saddle further back on the
bike and it had blown his chances of a podium finish.
Anyway, we took off after Diesel, who it must be said
was riding at a extremely high cadence and looking very relaxed. At one
point, Beef remarked to Oldman that he wasn’t even riding on the drops,
he was on the hoods! And Oldman pointed out quite correctly that he was
“still passing people in the race.” Can’t argue with logic like
that! Each time we’d draw up beside to take pictures, he would say
“I’m gonna git that guy in front!” and boom! Off he’d go.
The race distance for the Masters and Super Masters
was 26km. With each lap, Diesel would overtake at least 2 competitors.
Towards the end he started to overtake racers in the Master’s Cat. He
finished the race strong and ended with 3rd place.
5 entries, 3 podium place (prizes for the Open Cat
were given up to 8th place). On the whole a most productive
outing for the team. Kudos to the organizers for their excellent running
of the race and thanks to all the participants who cooperated to make the
event relatively trouble free. I must say that SACA is getting very
proficient at organizing and running races.
Next up, Team Time Trial. Plenty of places to hide
and TA hoping to repeat or better our results in the Open and ‘Rojak’
Cats. See you then.