One of my favorite races of the year is the Fitchburg TT. It used to be a
great loop – through the woods, out along a lake to the finish, with a
final false-flat run into the finish and one final climb to the line.
Tough, beautiful and best of all not out-and-back like most time trials.
Unfortunatley due to, I assume,
difficulties in keeping the course closed all day, and rider safety, this
year organizers used an out and back format.
Using the same start as in the past we rode out to what used to be the
first turn, did a turn-around, then came back past the finish for another
turn-around and then up the final hill. As disappointed as I was that they
had changed the route, the new course was better than I had expected. Best
of all, it was still tough, gently undulating the whole way, leaving you
worn for the final little drag to the line from the last turn-around.
As always at Fitchburg, today was hot and muggy. Above, the thunder clouds
were building as I arrived and an hour before my start. The rain started
just as the first men were off. I was hoping that the rain would be done
once my start time came, and it looked like it might be, but as I started
to warm up it started to come down again. Hopping on the turbo under an
awning of a building I started the warm-up and have to say that I felt
pretty good – 20 minutes of prep is all that I do. Turning on the Sony
Discman I try and shut out the world and concentrate on what’s ahead.
Sometimes it works, sometimes not.
Today my warm-up went well. With a time trial, you can’t miss your start
but you don’t want to get off the Turbotrainer too soon as well or you’ll
cool off too much. Timing when to finish your warm-up and
head to the line is probably the most stressful time of the day. I usually
give myself ten minutes but I’ve still got to towl off, pull on the skin
suit and helmet and change pedals from my road bike, which i use on the
turbo, to my time trial bike (difficult, i know, but it’s the reality).
Doing all that stresses me and this is when having support is so nice. Oh
well, another time.
Rolling off the line I got off to a sluggish start, maybe I’d gone too hard
warming up? I struggled up the first couple of grades, but from then on
things went well. Pain is time trialing, as corny as it sounds, but
its great when you can hit your threshold and stay there. It’s an awesome
feeling of power. Well I was on the rivet the whole way today and usually
that’s a good sign. I caught my minute man coming out of the first
turn-around. I don’t know who he was but he had a TT bike and all so hey…
People had told me that there was a head wind going out and a tail wind
coming back but
it sure didn’t feel that way. I’d given it a lot of juice on the first
stretch and at the finish was just barely hanging on. Thinking of the
course I had gone out and bought a 56-tooth chainring and good thing I did
as the 56×11 was in use. What a technical, equipment-oriented pain in the
ass time trials can be – all for just a 12km ride.
Anyway I did my best and held on for a decent time. The final climb was a
bit of a struggle and I lost a little time there but other than that I’m
happy with the day. In the end I posted a 17:08. At the time the
fastest time was Chris Wherry at 16:32 and there were still lots of guys to
go so we’ll see how it stands up. (note: Andrew finished 15th.)
Tomorrow’s race will be a lot of fun. Hopefully I can get a result in the
finish, an uphill sprint coming after a fast corner – fun, fun, fun..
Andrew Randell is a 28-year-old professional cyclist with the Canadian
Sympatico-Jetfuel team. This is his fourth time competing at the Fitchburg