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Race Report - Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark [updated]

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 15:13
by Jack Hughes
It all comes back to me now. I hate TTs. There's always good bits and bad bits in anything, cycling is no exception. But TTs are cycling with all the good bits removed. There's no scenery, no interesting route, no fun going up and down hill, no banter with companions, no pleasant stops at a little cafe or village pub. Just monotony relieving the pain. But mostly the other way round. There is only one single thing that you can discuss about a TT. And that's the wind. Which is always a strong headwind. In both directions of the race.

It's thirty years, almost to the day, since I last did a 25 mile TT. And I just remember hating every single minute of it. My back ached and I rode most of the way on the tops of the bars. The worst bit was that it just wouldn't stop, it just went on and on. Never again. My first and last.

So, I have to blame jonathon.e. I'm sure it was his idea. Really. I seem to recall a polite bit of small talk where one of us said “wouldn't it be a good idea to have a go at a Team Time Trial”, and the other, as you do, so as not to offend, agreed. Being all English, and being too polite to say no, somehow we found ourselves having entered, then actually turning up to the start, on a Freezing March morning.

The day had started well. I had slipped on some training tyres onto my wheels, replacing the turbo worn cheap touring ones. When I say “slipped”, I mean I cursed and fumed for far too long, blistering both thumbs and knackering two inner tubes. I Realised the only inner tubes I had left had too short valves, then had to dash to the LBS to get some replacements. Fortunately, we weren't starting until 2:30pm. I confess I got them to put the tube in, as by this time my thumbs were oozing blood.

I was left with 5 minutes to load at least one of everything into the car. Last minute check: Helmet? Yes!, Shoes? Yes, Red and black metally thing with wheels? Yes! As I scurried out of Bradford, the signs were auspicious. It was 3 degrees, raining and foggy at the same time. The only sign of hope was that the plumes of black smoke rising from the wreckage of last night's TWOC'd cars were pretty near vertical. About 3 or 4 on the beaufort scale. I pointed the car down the M62, and set course for Scunthorpe. One of the few towns in the UK which doesn't have a tourist information office. For good reason. But being flat, grey and boring makes for an ideal TT course. Apart from the wind.

Things started to look up. Even the Motorway was doing its best – giving me some great cues for visualisation and focus – all the matrix signs were saying “Think Bike!”. Now, I don't really do motivational music while I'm training, say, on the turbo. And for good reason. A turbo is a bit like a TT, but more interesting – because you have wallpaper to look at. But I do like to play something in the car on the way to a race to get the juices flowing. Today's choice was “Stargazer”, a storming 1970s hard rock epic from Rainbow. If you're not familiar with it, then its basic theme is about trying your hardest, sacrificing all, for one objective. Then failing miserably, with the realisation that it was all just a crazy dream. And going home. I need to work at this motivation thing. However, it seemed a fitting leitmotif for today's events.

They say that a TT is the “Race of Truth”. Supposedly because your can't hide behind the pack, taking it easy, or whatever. In reality, it is the race of truth simply because it holds a mirror up to your existence – it's an interminably long period of unmitigated boredom, and continual pain. All the same till the end, which just hurts more. However, there were two of us, racing together. Which, by a process of simple mathematics, makes this the “Race of Half Truths”. The key to success is lots of practice, so that the team can work together like a well oiled machine. Somewhere in our imaginations, we had achieved this state. In reality, we had just done enough team practice to stand a fighting chance of being able to recognise each other at the start line.

There isn't much to say about a TT. Unlike the bike leg of a Tri, riders are carefully handicapped, placed at the start so that there is little chance of catching up the people in front of you. Or of being caught. Except for the fast guys. They are placed right behind slow people, so that they overtake in a trice. All this avoids drafting. It also means you don't really get to see any other racers. This is why psychological warfare prior to the race start is so important. I knew I was going to stick out like a sore thumb. And it wasn't just because of my sore thumbs sticking out. As I pulled into the HQ car park it was clear that I was the only person with a car that was actually worth more than their bike. A typically TTer's car is a beaten up 1992 Nissan Micra, with about £20,000 of tricked up carbon crammed into the back. The driver somehow fits in – head through a three spoked front wheel, with an SRM crank pressed against one ear.

I've seen the pros doing it. But I didn't think it was actually obligatory to bring your Turbo with you. And dedicated turbo wheel. But they were all there, spinning away.

I teamed up with jonathon.e, and we went off to “warm up” by trying to find the start. Back to the cars, stripped off, I tricked my bike up by removing the bottle cages – my nutrition strategy was not to have one – this would no doubt buy me a couple of seconds over the 25 miles. And off we went back to the start. The timekeeper and starters were so amazed at how little we were wearing. Basically our short sleeved official unofficial BCTTT liveried tops, and some shorts. They gasped at the fact that I didn't have socks. And forgot to start us. So we were set off 15 seconds late, into the path of an HGV. Which is another thing about TTs. They tend to be on busy roads – in the hope that you will get sucked along by fast moving traffic.

Not too much to say about the event itself. The plan was that I would start off at the front. And when I started to go so slow that it looked like I would topple over, jonathon.e would take the lead. Trying to go slowly enough for me to keep up.

We were third from the end. The next team were two minutes behind us. And the last were two minutes behind them. It will give an good indication of our progress when the team behind caught us after about 2mins 17secs. They were a couple of RAF lads – obviously used to jet engines. Soon enough, another team passed us. Then, strangely, another couple.

Everything went reasonably smoothly. Except when, due to an extremely nasty bit of vibration caused by a rough road surface, my bike fell apart. We stopped, screwed it back together, and off we went again.

The key to a good TT is to “get it all out”. I did that. But by mile 17. Then it was just hang on to the end. I had to go to the front to get a rest – hanging on to the Jonathon.e train was just too hard. Still, while I was working away at the front, at RPE 9, I could hear Jonathon.e freewheeling behind me.

It was over. The only slight glitch was that my Garmin 405 was slightly ahead – so my last two miles effort were over when we still had a mile to go. We crossed the finish line, and a race photo was taken. I've not seen this – but it will clearly show me in distress, with jonathon.e sitting back, combing his hair while relaxedly sipping from a cocktail (it was a martini shaker he had in his bottle cage, not a bottle).

Mission achieved. I had successfully lead Jonathon.e out to a time probably about 4 minutes slower than he would have done on his own. Still, he got to plumb the depths of HR Zone 0. Which I don't think existed before.

I chatted to one of the other guys – they had the decency to wait for us to finish before handing out the prizes. He moaned about how boring it was. And we discussed the wind. As you do. We had placed a creditable 15th out of the 13 teams that actually finished. Which means that for those two teams, one half completed it solo, about five minutes faster than the pair of us.

Anyway, BCTTT has made it's indelible smudgy black mark on the world of TT. We attracted a fair bit of interest “Are you going for a run now?” and “Your from that funny team, aren't you”. All good stuff.

Yes, I hate TTs. So I'm off to enter the Featherstone RC's 10 mile TT, in three weeks time.

Edit: here we are. I got one of the Elites to take a photo. I don't know why I have one leg rolled up. There should be an action shot somewhere

Re: Race Report - Sheffrec RC Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 15:30
by Sir Jibbenstein
You paint such a wonderful picture of TT'ing I think I might stick to racing my bike in triathlon :lol: ... Hope you enjoyed it in some way.

Re: Race Report - Sheffrec RC Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 15:38
by jonathon.e
Jack does himself an injustice,he got a pb for the 25 along with me.
The BCTTT has a new level on the RPE scale of 11.No other team has 11,just the BCTTT because it is one up from ten.
Jack has been training using power intervals,and the TTT turned into one large power interval with no rest intervals.
He rode on the drops all the way,showing you do not need a flashy TT bike to post good times.
We aimed for a time of 1hr 10m and achieved it,given that we had only ridden together twice before(three times if you count the ToTPs,but we didn't see each other,despite passing)

There was no time to watch the scenery as all the time was spent watching either a rear wheel or potholes.At the race HQ there were rumours that small children were blown off there feet by the pressure wave of the passing BCTTT juganaut,these were later dismissed as unfounded.

Yes it hurt,it hurt like f$£k at times,but it tests you to the limit.So off you go and keep the faith,enter one today.As triathletes we were not sent to coventry,or treated like lepers,the others laughed with us not at us.

nice report,was it the same race :D :D :D

Re: Race Report - Sheffrec RC Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 15:49
by gingertri
hmmm martini's in a bottle cage you say......well done though! i've just seen a focus culebro tria (2009) for 40% off on wiggle, so is now £800.....just in case you want some serious retail therapy...

Re: Race Report - Sheffrec RC Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 16:13
by Jack Hughes
Don't get me wrong. I really really think you should all go and get entered. You don't need anything fancy. Just a bit of pluck. And remember, it really is just a race against yourself. It is the race of truth. You find out so much about your technique, efficiency, as well as how fit you are.

For example, I know I have to sort out my saddle. By the end it was uncomfortable enough so that it was stopping me getting the power down.

You can't hide in the same way that you can in a tri - behind the swim/run. The courses tend to be flatter, so it really is just all about getting what power you have out, in the most efficient way. You have to adapt to survive, almost.

And there is tea and cake at the end.

Re: Race Report - Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark [updated]

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 16:31
by didds
well I think you are both HEROES!


Re: Race Report - Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark [updated]

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 16:33
by md6
Great report, it almost makes me want to try and find one near me...i will have to force myseldf to do this sort of thing...good kit too. I like it.

Re: Race Report - Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark [updated]

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 17:33
by Sir Conehead
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Do you have pics? Ris is this too late to get into the club mag?

Re: Race Report - Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark [updated]

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 17:41
by jonathon.e
md6 wrote:..good kit too. I like it.

We took a team vote and decided to colour co ordinate with red/black(for speed)and a dash of yellow and White.
The shirts were got from cycle clothing(a couple of cheap seconds),and then logod up front and rear at a back street shop.the wheel unfortunately doesn't have spokes.

Re: Race Report - Two up TT. BCTTT makes it's mark [updated]

PostPosted: 07 Mar 2010 17:46
by Jack Hughes
jonathon.e wrote:the wheel unfortunately doesn't have spokes.

Which somehow makes it more appropriate. I also like the fact that the big logo on the bag is at a jaunty angle.