Sunday, 15 April 2012

Keep it Smooth

I’ve never been overly bothered about the grief I have got from shaving my legs for a bike race. Its not that odd. That’s probably because I hung out with cyclists and it was the norm.  I have never been a very good time triallist. Its all technique and power. Smooth riding to keep aero-dynamic. Its a discipline and my old teacher used to say I was undisciplined. My fastest time for a ‘10’ was a slow 23 in Redcar back in '82 - So long ago I saw it in the antiques roadshow once. 

So it was with some anticipation that me and one of my running partners had entered the Ryton 18mile 2 up – a two man (or woman) affair. It was his idea. But I liked it. As it was, it was pretty chilly on Saturday afternoon when we unloaded the bikes out of the car and checked in at Ponteland. The bikes were good to go, the riders less so. As we looked around at the other 40 or so teams we made some nervous jokes, some about the retro, old skool gear and about whether we’d be caught be Ryton Tri’s Batey Sisters who were the duo setting off 2 minutes behind us. 

Our aim was to finish within the hour. On a very undulating course with stretches of crap surfacing we reckoned that was achievable, but not certain. Last team to set off in this race against the clock, this 'race of truth', included John Tanner, former twice British Road Race Champion. It would be disappointing if we were caught by him. Or would it? After clearing the pungent traces of embrocation left in the air by riders around us from my nose, we lined up at 14:34pm and pulled off following the count-down.  There was a choppy headwind for the first 6 miles as we headed up to the Gubeon turn. Getting a rhythm was difficult owing to the long drags and small rises but at the turn we began to turn a bigger gear and felt some benefit from the sidewind.  There was also a little support for us along the course which was appreciated.

No one had passed us by mile twelve as we leant into the left turn at Belsay, the two marshalls slowing the traffic just enough for us.  But as we pedalled on, I heard the unmistakable whirrr of a disc wheel coming up behind. Was this the sisters? Seemingly not. It was No.39 with no team-mate. He was travelling. But travelling solo. Nice style. He disappeared into the distance in a whirr of lycra.

We were maxed out for gears with a tailwind toward the end, taking it up to around two and a half minute miling and were looking for gears we didn't have on the downward stretches. and then it was over. Good fun and super quad and cardiac workout. Will certainly shoe horn in another next month, maybe down Teesside.  Fifty one minutes for 18 miles and no sign of the Bateys or the Tanner. Did my smooth legs have anything to do with this. Not likely. Mr T. finished in thirty eight minutes though so some way to go still.