‘The Race Of Truth’, Rob Carpenter’s toe dipping into Time Trials
TT – Another First in a Year of Firsts
This is what is so great about Triathlon and Lincsquad in particular. Variety.
Kayak: Wet and involves lots of swimming
Swimming: Pool and open water, freestyle, breaststroke, back-crawl, butterfly (really?) doggy-paddle (more like it)…..
Cycling: TT’s, Sportives, track, social Sunday morning group rides, cyclo-cross….
Running: 5k, 10k, ½ Marathons, Marathons, fun runs, Park Runs, trail running…..
Mix and match all of the above, or do one only, but how could you not find something that is addictive, fun and so much better than sitting on the couch staring into the oblivion that is that ever growing in size oblong black box in the corner of your living room? Unless, of course, one of the above mentioned disciplines is showing, then it is perfectly acceptable! Occasionally.
With properly organised 5k’s, 10k’s, ½ Marathon, the amazing Clumber Park Classic Duathlon (that’s a story for another day) and the small matter of the Edinburgh Marathon already ticked off in this year of firsts, back in early May I finally decided that it was time to lose my Lincsquad TT virginity.
Although at heart a multisport club, Lincsquad also excels in providing and delivering excellent individual events such as the fortnightly TT series which runs throughout the summer (ha!) months. Our TT has now grown into the biggest and best attended TT series in the area, much to the displeasure of many pure cycling clubs 😉 Having watched most of the rounds last year, witnessed the eye popping efforts given by every rider and drooled over some seriously pretty machinery, I never really plucked up the courage to whip the Scott S40 into a 10 mile (well, 9.7 miles to be precise) gallop. Whether it was the fact that I felt slightly disadvantaged by not having TT bars let alone a fully blown star ship TT bike I don’t know, but the Scott stayed in the stable and I watched. And watched. And watched. Even with a dreamy £10,000 superbike was I ever going to challenge the mighty Steve Grocock and Josh Jones with their lung busting low 20 minute race times? Nope. Was I going to be the strong guy holding up the rest of the field? Probably not. The season came and went and I found myself wishing after the last round, that I had dipped my toe in the water at least once.
This all changed whilst enjoying a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales in March of this year, happening across a little Triathlon shop in Richmond called Tri-Kudos. As soon as Erica and I walked through the door, my eyes fixed on a beautiful black orange and white (well, ‘chalk’ to be precise) TT bike sitting proudly against a huge wall mounted advertising poster. Moda. Now, whatever Erica was saying as we walked into the shop, turned into a mess of white noise (not for the first time ) as I was inexorably drawn towards this Tigerish looking beauty of a machine, transfixed. My trance-like state lasted until the precise moment that the price tag came into focus at which point I was rudely woken from my dreamy state of mind with an ugly jolt. Bugger, I could buy a car for that kind of money. Not as much fun though.
To cut a long story short, unusual for me I know, but unbelievably my wonderful wife whom I always listen to so intently, at all times, always spoke those wonderful words to me ‘do you want it? If you want it, just get it’ hearing those words, I thought that I must still have been in the trance, but I played along anyway and it seems that I have remained in that surreal state of mind to this day, as every time that I have looked in the kitchen since, my Moda stands there looking all pretty, mean and moody all at the same time!
So, now that I owned my very own fully fledged, Shimano Ultegra, carbon framed and wheeled TT weapon, kindly set up to suit me by cyclo-cross supremo Nick Appleyard, there really was no excuse but to lay myself bare and inch up to that Scawby Brook start line with Elinor’s willing and able TT maestros team of volunteers ready to time my first TT effort. But not the first round of the series, as TT Grand Master Dave Hinch had assigned me supervisory duties in his absence (being away in Majorca on a two week Tri camp – tch….it’s a tough life!). So round two it was as I cautiously inched Moda up to the starting grid, rider number 1, held up by the start officials as I fidgeted around as nervous as a cat in a dog kennel.
3-2-1 Go! Eyes bulging, thighs burning and I was up to 10mph. My plan was to get up to speed as quickly as I could and try to hold a 22mph average over the course which would return what I thought would be a creditable first TT result in the mid 25 minute area. At no point ever had I held that kind of average for any great distance on my trusty but sedate Scott, so maybe this was an ambitious target, but it was a target all the same. The nasty side wind really didn’t help, and neither did my wide open fish like gaping mouth which was getting drier and drier as I gasped for breath to fill my burning lungs; every breath felt like I was inhaling a thousand daggers as my lungs protested wildly at the load being placed on them by my legs in trying to hold that target average. Surely the turn point at Redbourne had to appear soon….was 5 miles really so far?!!!! Finally, like an oasis appearing in the desert I scorched (hahaha!) into Redbourne only for the little ‘Redbourne hump’ to kill my progress and concentration. How can such a small and short incline feel like the Alpe d’Huez? I turned for home with the afterburners raging, pushing me towards the sanctuary of the King Billy and the finish line. Glancing at my Garmin with a mile to go, I saw my average holding just over 22 mph, I was going to do it, but not without every sinew of my legs, and every inch of my lungs screaming their displeasure at me. Crossing the line, stopping Elinor’s watch at 25 minutes and 31 seconds with an average speed of 22.7mph, I had finished my first TT!
It is true and not an exaggeration to say that my lungs didn’t forgive me for those 25 and a half minutes for at least three full days, as I suffered what felt like bronchitis symptoms for my efforts! Despite the shock to my system, my first TT was a great experience, painful and exhausting, yet exhilarating at the same time! I love my new TT bike, but I’m not sure that my lungs love me in the same way for the punishment that they received and will continue to receive every other Wednesday evening through the summer.
Another first in a year of firsts!