When I saw the SCF team time trial on the Anza facebook page (thanks for posting Donald) I was very keen to have a crack at my first time trial as well as get a chance to ride on some closed roads right on my doorstep. I had to first find a team which, due to the summer holidays, was harder than I thought it would be. Luckily there were others in the Club also in my position without a team and were willing to join in the fun. At the time it looked unfortunate that we would have to race in the Sports Category as I am under 35 (not stone Russ sugested) instead of the Masters however this became a blessing as it turned out there were only 4 teams in total entered. We only had to beat one team to finish on the podium. MUST NOT BE LAST!!
In the run up to the event I’m sure the prep as a team could have been better as I borrowed clip on bars (thanks Guillaume) and had only rode on them 3 times before the event and we hadn’t had time to practice as a team with various work and family commitments. Added to this I decided to follow the Alan Benson rehydration program following the Saturday individual TT ride which I’m assured is tried and tested but not always the best feeling the morning of a race!
On race day we were the last Anza riders off with Pierre and Donald away early in the Duo and Torro and the other old timers [Hmmm! Ed.] in the Masters 16 mins before us. I had seen the Anza duo head off, setting a blistering pace and with 45 mins to go I went for a short spin to warm the legs and was feeling quite good, even still in flip flops 🙂 On return Michael, Trent and Peter had arrived and were getting the race numbers fitted and discussing speeds and turns etc. The Sunday recovery ride from Rats had also arrived to take in the race atmosphere and offer their support which was great too and much appreciated.
Before we knew it we were being called to the line, of course there was still time for a quick photo and then we were ushered to the starting point where we waited for the timer to drop to zero before we were off. We were going off at 2 min gaps between teams and from the back of the start line it felt like a lifetime. Finally we got going and Michael took out of the traps like a hare and left me thinking “what have i done, must not be dropped” but we soon settled in to a good rhythm. I spotted the Anza Masters coming the other way and noted we were not that far apart so would use them as a benchmark. The first stretch flew past and everyone seemed comfortable and working well. After the first turn I spotted we had been caught by the other Anza team and we picked the pace up a few km/h to try and make up some time. We also needed to look like we were flying for all the supporters on the start finish line. We came over the line and as we turned to start the second lap it felt like a wind tunnel had been turned on. We decided to keep the turns short and rotate quickly. About 1km from the turn we passed the team that set off 2 mins ahead (were they in our Cat? Does that mean we could be 3rd? Focus Craig!!) and as I rolled to the rear Trent shouted we had lost Michael with stomach cramps and were left with a team of 3.
Luckily we were right on the turn at this point and would now have the wind behind us, I was feeling good so was happy to take a long turn and advantage of the wind, which I would regret on the way back! On the 2nd run over the line we were very compact as we were aware of the wind and had to work together as much as possible. I did spot at this point we had extended a margin on the Masters group due to the wind and was hoping we could hold on to the turn with 6km to go. It was at this point Trent stepped in to super TT mode and continued the high pace previously set which neither Peter or myself were able to maintain for long on our own. After the second last turn we had a home and dry feeling and everything that was left was thrown by all three of us. At points the pace was creeping to over 48km/h as we neared the final turn which was less than 100m from the finish line. Not the best way to finish a TT but the same for everyone I suppose.
Once finished we made our way back to find out how Michael was and how we had fared against the other teams. Much to our surprise we were welcomed by words that we had taken 1st position. Ever the ‘glass half full Scot’ I had to see this for myself and sure enough we completed the course in 51:23, a full 3 mins quicker than 2nd place!
It took some time for the presentations due to the Open Cat completing 4 laps of the circuit and with the increasing heat and vicious, biting red ants staging an attack, we were keen to get our medals. Donald and Pierre were up first taking 3rd in the Duo then we got our moment of glory, which made it worth all the effort.
Heading in to the race i was wary of what I had got myself in to as a TT novice however I will have no reservations about signing up next time as it was well organized and had something for everyone. Watching the impressive effort by some competing hand-cyclists was great to see showing how wide the appeal is and hopefully more people will decide to take part next in the next event. I now have to convince my better half that I must have a TT bike in order to go better next time 🙂