This is part 1 of the summary of my (short) road and TT season. I love racing cyclocross and mountain bike. Although I spend most of my riding time on a road bike, I would never say my main discipline was road. Hence, my season is very short.
At the start of the year, the university club started Ladies Time Trial training, to prepare for the BUCS TTT (BUCS is the university competition and it is a 3-up TT). I decided to go along, expecting to get dropped. I managed to keep up on the first ride, which was short and involved a bit of chaingang, which not everyone had done before. I enjoyed it so kept going to the sessions. There was one week when a lot of the track team came and I considered going on the normal slower ride instead. It surprised me that I was able to keep up but some of the track riders couldn’t (although obviously they are two different disciplines with different length races). I stuck with it every week, and my aim was then to make the team. The university entered 3 teams and when the provisional teams were announced (chosen by the road captain and coach), I was in the C team. Unfortunately due to riders pulling out/getting injured, there were only enough riders for 2 teams. With the A team sorted, there were 5 riders competing for 3 places in the B team. I think it was then decided as the first 3 people to say they would do it so I made the B team.
The team was made up of me, Laura and Ellie. We went out practising the weekend before the event, and I got dropped quite soon. I’d just had a week off, due to feeling ill, so expected to have fresh legs but struggled. The main point to take away from it was that I really needed to communicate. Another point was to try the aero bars that I got years ago and have hardly used since. This would also be helpful because both of the others were on time-trial bikes. So during the week, I tried the bars (with the slightly odd photo for proof).
The race was on Saturday 23rd March, starting in Tormanton, near Bristol. The course was 22.5 miles. I went home on the Friday night after lectures and made flapjacks. My team was due to start at 3:30 so we arranged to meet at 1:30. It was about 2 and 1/2 hours to get there. I set off with my dad and we had a great journey, working our way through the soundtracks of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, the Greatest Showman and Les Mis. We arrived at about 12:30, so after a sandwich, we walked to HQ and signed on. After the other girls arrived, we had a chat, made sure we knew what we wanted to do and got ready.
After a brief warm up on rollers, the skinsuits went on and the aerosocks (brilliant things from Rule 28 in Uni colours) were pulled up. We rolled slowly to the start, and had a quick chat with the girls from Southampton who were started before us. We decided that I would start in the middle, so I wasn’t dropped at the start. It was my first time trial so the held start was slightly odd (although I have done them before). We got a slow start as Ellie was in the wrong gear, but we quickly sped up, staying altogether. It wasn’t long before I began to drop. The first part is always the hardest for me because my knees go cold and my cadence drops. I did a turn down a hill but dropped as the road went upwards again. It didn’t look a steep hill but my Garmin told me we were only going 12mph and I was struggling. We continued and as the road flattened, I got into a rhythm. It was hard and I think I only did 3 turns in the whole TT. The constant encouragement from my team mates got me round. We had almost reached the end when we missed the left turn. My dad was waiting further down that road, so all his photos have me trying to chase on after we turned suddenly. From here, it was a steep downhill and a drag upwards. We made it round in 1 hour 5 minutes and 10 seconds, which placed us 10th out of the 16 teams.
Overall, it was a good day out and I look forward to trying again next year (maybe). It hasn’t persuaded me to do another time trial this year though.