The first race of the season is probably the worst one of the lot. It’s the moment when all the pre-season fannying around is dispelled in a few short minutes and you find out in simple terms whether you’re going well or riding like a sack of potatoes. As such, there’s a hefty degree of race anxiety, even though no-one wants to turn up in peak form for the Frome and District Wheelers 10 mile time trial in early February. The best you can hope for is a sense of things being not as quick as you might have hoped, but not as slow as you perhaps feared. And so it goes.
The weather was kind, if a tiny bit chilly. It didn’t cause any problems though and my armwarmer/kneewarmer/defeet glove combo was perfect. I was very cautious on all the roundabouts, scrubbing off all my speed and cornering gingerly, to say the least. There was some sort of time equation in my head; 10 seconds gained on the course could easily become 6 months lost after a heavy crash.
Ed and Rob were also riding in the red and gold, both on fixed. Rob opted for a healthy 97″ and Trotterz went big with a hundred and something, dialling in a long 23. I managed to ride 22 dead, 1 second slower than last year. I’ll settle for that. I was also up on a few other people which was comforting and took home £15 for 3rd place. Ben Anstie and Tejvan Pettinger were both a cut above, with Ben edging it by 3 seconds in 21.26. There were some other impressive rides, James Coleman blasted round on a road bike, making the most of his Ludgershall legs, Steve Potts put in a quick time, Richard Spink managed to complete the course in short order, even with one of his ski poles swinging all over the place.
I shall move on to the next event with a degree of confidence and the knowledge that I’ve put in a race effort – always the hardest thing to replicate in training. Apart from all of that, it was great to catch up with various people I only ever see at races, especially Tejvan who I somehow managed to miss last year. The social side of time trialling is perhaps overlooked. Today’s event had all the hallmarks of club life; a village hall, sturdy mugs of tea and hearty cake, lots of gentle banter between racing cyclists and a presentation of used banknotes in brown envelopes.