"We're doing the Kildwick time trial on Wednesday!" said Cath "Oh, are we?", "Yep, I've said we're doing it"
So the die was cast. Now neither Cath nor I have ever done a time trial or indeed any other form of bike race on the roads so this was a bit of a departure. We've done a few trailquests and a mountain bike race at a local show once but nothing on the roads. I was intending to go out with the fast crew on Wednesday night but: "they're all doing the TT". No escape there then.
As the day drew closer, Cath began to get more nervous - "What have I done?", "What do I do?" - answer: put your head down and pedal like ****!
Come the allotted evening we rode down to Kildwick, there were already a few cyclists milling around, all looking very thin and serious. There's a lot of seriously expensive bikes around. Eventually the organiser turned up and we paid our money and picked up a bib number. First rider off at 1900 then at one minute intervals. I was #11, Cath was #14. Eventually the rest of the Skipton crowd arrived, so many that as a club we were over 1/3 of the entries! The course is probably as flat as you are likely to get around here.
A few rides round the block for a warm up and then it was away to the start. Slowly the number of riders in front of me dwindled and then it was my turn. "Three, two, one, go!" A few pedal strokes then it was up in to the big ring and on to the drops. Try to go as hard as I can without blowing up, keep the cadence high and spin those gears.
The first roundabout comes up in six minutes flat then it's on to the bypass and the long drag up to the top roundabout. Even in a car this bit of road just seems to go on and on with the roundabout always just over the horizon. Eventually the marshall is in sight, the roundabout is clear so no chance of a rest. The return should be easier but there's actually a headwind and once the long descent is done the effort to keep going becomes greater. Cath is still heading out and on the start of the climb to the turning point. There's no sign of the rider in front, he's long gone (he actually came 3rd) so it's just keep spinning.
I'm back in sight of the first roundabout again when I'm overtaken by the rider behind, I'm surprised it's taken this long actually. I almost come to a halt at the roundabout when a car turns across me without indicating then it's more effort to get back up to speed and there's a rider ahead (not in the race) to act as a target. All too quickly I'm past him and then I hear a clunk as he picks up my wheel and begins to draft me!
More effort from burning legs and lungs and then it's a filter left to the finish. My sneaky drafter yells a "thank you" and carries on. I cross the line and pull up. Once I've got my breath back I check my time: 26:51, not bad - the best time was 20:30 though the rider is a semi-pro. By the time everyone is in, it's starting to go dark so rather than head back to Skipton for the club TT prize giving we head straight home. Cath managed a respectable 31:24.
Thoughts? Well it's hard work and you need to have your technique nailed, which I don't. Still I've got a target to aim at.