The Race of Truth

VC Melyd & Rhyl CC share a time trial series – here are a few words posted to the Time Trial Results FB page on The Race of Truth. There are some people who will never get it… in the same way the idea of purposely hunting out unleven roads feels for me… for those who are undecided – here is an insight into the D1/9 from the mind of a tester. Thanks Tim.

The race of truth: A bicycle time trial.

They call my number. Riders set off at one minute intervals. Now it is my turn.

My mouth is dry apart from the remnants of the sickly-sweet tasting energy gel. I wheel my bike slowly to the start line.

At thirty seconds the ‘pusher-off’ holds my bike upright allowing me to clip into both pedals. Deep gulps of air and final adjustments: skin-suit straightened, feet-twisted to ensure they’re firmly locked into the pedals, glasses pushed back. Ready.

Heart monitor shows 85 beats.

Five, four, three, two, press computer start button, one. ‘Good ride Tim’.

Explosive start. Pedals forced forward with all the power I possess. Bike becomes fantastically alert. In an instant heart at 160 beats.

Within three hundred yards approach the brow of the first descent. Steady. Reaching forward on the tri-bars the pace becomes frightening. The wind whistles against my aero – tear-drop – helmet.

The roads levels out. A flat section demands perfect rhythm. The pressure in my legs and chest is intense; I edge back from the brink and manage the pain in the nick of time.

Finding the best line to void bumps and holes in the road; using well known markers on the course to gauge progress. This is called technique.

Then comes the Wall: the most challenging part of the course. Make or break. The Wall defines the race. Pre race tactics abandoned as nausea sets in. The false peak of the hill is horribly deceitful. Rhythm lost.

Recovery is slow. The Wall is replaced by a long gradual assent to the foot of the mountains. Stunning views are merely a blur set again the agony of extreme effort. If I quit it will be now.

Heart rate constant at around 180 beats.

Rhythm and a decent pace return. A sharp descent into small village demands courage. Who dares wins, sometimes. Legs press hard against the frame; elbows tucked in. Head down. As small as I can be. After all cycling forward is all about moving air.

Passing and being passed by others in the race brings dejection and motivation in equal measure. Yet to show emotion would be bad form; dig deep.

Hills behind me and a final five miles of undulating road to the finish. Constant glancing at the small computer allows mental arithmetic to temporarily distract from the physical effort. Target setting keeps me focused; only time trialists will know.

The final mile along a by-pass with a near perfect road surface. A friendly tail-wind too. An exhilarating pace without effort; body numb. Happiness beyond description. Better than sex.

A small huddle of fluorescent jackets mark the end. Final sprint for show. Shouting my number to ensure an accurate time. PB on the results sheet is short-hand for personal best. PBs are collected like rare antiques. Time trialists know their PBs better than the dates of close family birthdays. Test them.

Slumped on the handle-bars, freewheeling to the race HQ. Exhausted but in a very good way, tales of the race exchanged. Tactics up the Wall compared. Novices soak it up.

Results read out amidst genuine mutual respect; comrades in the race of truth.

Consensus is reached: It was indeed a good night.

Tim Erasmus, Rhyl CC.