The harder I work...


My coach never wishes me luck before a race. Luck is for the ill prepared. And while there are some variables in races you cannot account for, covering every other base is a backbone of his coaching philosophy.

 

I took up time trialling three years ago (almost to the day – on his old TT rig no less) and any thoughts I had of hard work in prepping for races…were promptly stomped on. If you’re in any way obsessive compulsive, then time trials are for you. I never actually considered myself a ‘lazy’ rider. I liked details and data. Details and data were good. Hold my beer, I’ve got this.

 

Wrong.

 

Course recon. Course simulations for different winds. Wheel choice. Warm up routine – from the actual warm up to when shoe covers go on, what music, what electrolyte, how long before the start to do it. Helmet choice. Gearing choice, breakfast choi…it goes on. That’s only half of it. But hey, I liked riding hard and riding fast. And if all this was what was required to ride harder and faster, well so be it.

 

The only problem is that it comes at a bit of a cost. While I love the fact I now have about half a dozen weather sites favourited. That neighbours have left hand written notes in our letterbox regarding the noise of the LeMond. And that ergo sessions which require a can of Coke to get through are commonplace. When your name finally does make it to the top of the pile and you are the fastest, the first thing you normally do is think something like “yeah, but my head was still way too high”. Or you look at your splits (MyLaps has this function, it’s sensational)

 

 

and think “could have had a better negative split”. Appreciating a win becomes as much a challenge as the actual TT. OCD giveth, OCD taketh away.

 

If this is all starting to sound a little glum, fear not. The best part of time trial racing is undoubtedly the other competitors. Everyone has the same sickness as you. Everyone is racing against the same enemy – the clock. And, at least in my experiences, everyone is extremely generous in offering up words of advice and perspective on your ride.

 

It was no secret I had never beaten Shane Miller in a time trial. Three years and the closest I had come – funnily enough all the way back in 2012 – was 1 second. But who (outside of my coach) do you think my biggest source of TT advice was? Shane. To finally get to the top of results sheet that featured his name was, I admit, a relief. Sure I immediately picked on my head/helmet position post-race. But dammit if the Lama didn’t bring me straight back to earth and was as stoked for the result as I was (or should have been).

 

None of this though is particular to just me. The vibe before a time trial is relaxed. There is banter pre and post-race and (most telling of all) numbers at events are on the rise. Nearly 100 competitors for last weekend’s Cycling Victoria Geelong Open TT. Enormous. Driven both by CV’s terrific dedication to including TTs in all their VRS Tours plus the fantastic atmosphere at the events. I’d love to name a road race where everyone was as keen to help the person next to them go faster. Maybe it’s the nature of the beast. An inanimate object as the ultimate enemy probably helps keep the animosity low. Whatever the case, to have three years of effort come together for my home club’s event was unreal. It repaid the efforts of a club president – responsible for me taking up racing to begin with. And not begrudged by any.

The long term goal is now the 2016 UWCT titles in Perth. I’m backing myself to get there. The harder I work, the luckier I tend to get. Especially with a little help from my friends. 

 

**photo credit Troy Baker photography**