During the weekend I discovered the difference between fantasy cycling and reality cycling, between champion and chump or, to be blunt the difference between the tortoise and the hare.
Don’t let that old aesops fable fool you….the tortoise definitely will NOT WIN in cycling, Acts of God excepting.
Meet the Tortoise
I had recently made up my mind to join a local cycling club and was researching clubs and club runs on the web. I came across a link to an advert for the The Lang Whang Hilly 30Time Trial on a road not so far away from me. I looked at it and thought “Hey..that looks good – I’ve gone down that road a few times – its quite fast….maybe I could enter”………1st mistake.
Yes – yes – Yes – In theory – in theory…..I could.
To enter You need to have British Cycling membership and the event insurance that comes with it and…. well…..I’m a member. Great! Fab! Aye. Well….I had read the profile of the route and it concurred with my ailing memory of the last time I went down it during the Pedal for Scotland Sportive 2013 last year. It read something like this :-
“The “Lang Whang”is the local name for the A70 between Balerno and Carnwath. In old Scots it means narrow strip of leather, usually a long leather bootlace. The road makes up our out-and-back 30 mile TT. It’s a rolling course with sections over 1000 feet above sea level.”
Sounded fine I thought – So I booked up via the British Cycling website and paid my (very reasonable) ten quid………2nd mistake.
You see, whilst I could award myself 10/10 for wishful thinking, I would get a flat zero for clear and accurate thinking.
Time trialists are stick thin creatures who are fit, healthy, lean, wiry, strong, lean , very light, performance athletes who have trained, pushed, endured pain and extremes of weather , and trapped themselves indoors during the winter months on their rollers or turbo’s to maintain their cadence , lose weight, keep up fitness and be lean. Their bikes will be the lightest machines possible , the riders will be the lightest leanest people possible, who, over time, will all have all been hydraulically altered by rushing air to be as”aero” as possible. Did I also mention that they will be very lean?
Time trialists learn very early on in life to lean in to any current of air, however slight, in order to avoid being lifted of their feet and deposited gently to the ground 3 ft to the left.
Contrast EZPC who is 6′ 2 “, medium build, slightly soft and round in the middle and who at present struggles to get below 95kg or 210lbs. Its an age thing right? Just don’t get me started on that subject.
I have just migrated from my trusty aluminium framed velo ecosse bike with Shimano R500 race wheels to a lightweight carbon framed Scott CR1 comp, and I’ve been most disconcerted to hear the wheel spokes “ping” slightly when I manhandle it too aggressively during accelerations. I really should check what the maximum weight limit on the wheels should be. I’m obviously at the upper limit! ! I’m also about as aerodynamic as a brick. A very large brick at that , complete with roundish slumped shoulders and a too-big head that always weighs too much and makes my shoulders hurt.
Yes – I’ve cycled a lot…….So what!
Yes – I’ve cycled long distances – through 4 different countries even……. and?
But I’ve never pushed it at pace.
Question :- Does travelling abroad on a jet-plate make you a great pilot? Answer – No…….it makes you a passenger …….So doing some long distance slow paced cycling isn’t going to make me good at track cycling or time trialling is it? NO. So why on earth did I think that I would be great at a Time Trial course? Am I that naive? or Arrogant?
No…No… not at all.. I did think, however, that it would be a good stretching exercise though. I’ve never done that sort of thing before you see….
So come on – it’s worth a go right? Right?
Time to up the ante?
Where’s my spirit of adventure?
Think big, dream large, you know?
If you shoot for the moon you might land somewhere pretty ? That sort of thing…
Against my better judgement, I’ve entered ….so I better recce the route eh?
Saturday past I did just that – googled it , logged it, mapped my route to it and cycled out to it . I packed my usual small saddle bag with tools, took some gels and cycled 23kms to the start line. I then cycled the route at a good pace (for me) and logged it on my computer.
It was absolute hell.
Rowsell and Hammer – toe to toe at the World Track Championships
I watched Great Britain’s Joanna Rowsell claim her second gold of the World Track Championships with victory in the individual pursuit in Cali, Colombia.
She beat five-time champion Sarah Hammer of the United States by 1.2 seconds in a personal-best time of three minutes 30.318 seconds over 3km. Congratulations and a huge well done go to her. It was a trully oustanding effort and she so throughly deserved the victory.
Rowsell, who won gold in the team pursuit 24 hours earlier, said: “I can’t believe I went that quick.
“This has been a goal for a while. It means the world to me.”