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 straight win.

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 champion.’

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.

Comments or criticism can be sent to beef@teamabsolut.net

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