Hounslow 25 TT Report

If you enjoy hearing yourself hyper-ventilating for an hour while wearing a funny pointy helmet or; the promise of being blinded by your own sweat and slow cooking in your lycra as your heart hammers like Vulcan on Red Bull…this is the event for you.

 

Time trials are timed distance events. You ride a specific distance, sometimes in an ok time but it’s always a trial.

 

A trial because the moment you arrive at the start line you remember the dozen items of prep you forgot that will undoubtedly add up to a poor time. Forgot to leave enough time to warm up properly. Forgot to bring the skinsuit. Forgot to check tire pressure. Forgot to wear booties. Forgot to raise the seat that half millimeter you figured was the reason you could not walk for a whole day after the last one.

 

At the line a nice man holds your bike while you try to look gamely prepared. Then you notice in dismay that the guy just gone is so much faster than you so you will never see him or your two minute man and you recall that the two girls immediately behind you were a minute faster than your best time last year and will probably catch you in a lap. Ten seconds away and you realize you are in the wrong gear for a fast start. Five seconds away and you wonder if the nice man will let you take off even if he does see a truck coming up at 40 behind you.

 

Go: and you lurch and then remember to hit the Garmin and spin out in silly land while the chain can’t decide what gear you want it to grab.

 

Initially you hit the road hard in a TT, usually with a jack hammer heart that is over paced on anticipation. Try not to overcook in the first few miles as this is a common problem. On the Drift road circuit you hit a nice little climb inside the first mile. Not enough for the small ring but plenty long enough to get the legs sore and slow you down to jogging speed.

 

Around the left at the top the road starts to favor you. There are some sweet swooping curves on good road and not too much traffic. Keep the cadence high and stay on the aero bars the whole way. At these speeds they make a big difference and allow you to hit the uphill section with a lot of extra momentum that will carry you fast over the top.

 

Hot yet? Yes. There is already a stream of sweat dripping onto the inside of your lenses and you are losing more H2O than you can take on.

 

Remember to drink. In this case it is as simple as grabbing the tube from the Camelback and trying to grab a mouthful of salty water between gulps of air. Tricky and inefficient but critical. Keep doing this every ten minutes now.

 

 

 

After 5 miles the legs begin to numb, the pain dies and things start to come together. Keep the cadence high to save the muscles for later but not so high your heart goes into overdrive. Drop the revs and put the muscles to work and you feel the relief as breathing eases and the heart rate drops a few beats; but then the acid mounts in your legs and the burning gets too much. Swap cogs now, it’s time to reverse the cycle. Just a few revs in the difference each time, up to 95 back to 85, up to 95 back to 85; and so on.

 

Marshals ahead on the next corner. Don’t see you coming. Swing wide into the middle of the road to hold speed around the corner but remember how fast you are really going. Twenty six mph through a right angle and it’s a good thing there are no cars coming out.

 

This next bit is a long drag with wind in the face, poor road surface and plenty of traffic. A few miles later a nice chicane that takes you downhill at full tilt to the left hander and back onto Drift road.

 

This stretch goes well but the hill at the end is tragic and boils the quads. The sweet promise of a gel and you make it to the top but then as you get the gel out the road swoops down and it’s time to nail it while the gel flaps between clenched teeth. Rip it open and suck out that rich nectar and gulp some more water. Magic a minute later as the sugar reaches the muscles and they surge back to life powering you over the next few miles at a speed so distinctly higher that it is noticeable in the garmin file later.

 

Down towards Windsor again and less than a lap to go and then there comes that ominous rumbling thunder. A disc wheel makes a distinctly ugly noise when it is behind and not your own.

 

Moments later the bike and rider pass a good 5 mph faster. There is a moment spent letting him get 50 or more feet ahead and then a surge to try and pace him followed quickly by the realization he is just going too fast and this effort is unsustainable.

 

Now the last time down that long drag and into the wind before the hill as fast as possible before coming round the corner and whoosh past the time keeper.

 

At the HQ the legs are so sore from the new saddle that it takes a few minutes to gather enough courage to try walking but then the blood starts to flow, the endorphins kick in and the results board beckons.

 

That guy who passed you won the event coming in almost 7 minutes ahead followed by 3 others who would also have passed. 5th place will have to do for now.

 

There is much to be done better and this is just the first this season.