"Truth? You can't handle the race of truth..."

Or so said a little voice in my head for years.  Yup, come to think of it, he kinda sounded just like Jack too.  For years I avoided them.

Well I rode my first Time Trial since 1987 last week.  Jeez...I can't believe it's been 24 years since I last tried to go flat out fast against the watch, to turn big gears.  Our local BikeWorks Rehoboth Time Trial was the perfect place to jump back in the water...low key, fun, pretty flat, and fast.

I'm not counting last year's Mt. Greylock Hillclimb.  That was different.  I'm talking a flat to rolling TT, one where you're flying along at max velocity, punching a hole in the air.

Note to self:  It's hard to hide a cronobike purchase
 from the wife. They tends to get noticed in the basement...
About a month ago I splurged a little, snagging a new Cannondale Slice TT bike.   It's so much fun to ride.  I'm convinced the aero position alone is worth several mph, and the ability to drop a few cogs on the back at the same power output.  Still learning to be comfortable in the drops, it takes awhile to teach an old dog new tricks I guess.

My debut club TT time last week was 19:42 for 8 pretty flat miles, a shade under 25mph.  OK, not pro speed, but enough for 3rd place on the night, only 10 sec out of 2nd.   Not terrible for a 50 year old man doing his first TT in decades, eh?

I never was that good at TT's back when I was young and serious, and I think a lot of that was the fact that I never really figured out the art of pacing them.  I'd usually end up getting all revved up, going out way too hard, overgear from the start, and blow in the middle.  So last week, while warming up, I tried to kill the Jack voice in my head with another:  That voice-over from that classic Ole Ritter segment in 'stars and watercarriers'.  You know, the one where they follow him in the Forte dei Marmi time trial in the 1973 Giro.  The quintessentially perfect film on the art of riding a time trial.  Check it out if you haven't seen it before.

"It's vitally important to get the right thrust..to find and hold a gliding rhythm...always the highest possible gear than can be maintained effortlessly..what matters is to hold of a harmonious thrust...it's very important to make a sensible start...dangerous to aim too high..by using too high a gear from the start ...it's a question of feeling your way, of knowing yourself, of finding just the right rhythm just for today...of starting off on the right foot for a long, concentrated harmonious and cohesive effort"

Last week I started determined not to make my usual 'overgearing' mistake, swore to myself I'd stay in the 15 and rev it like crazy.   That resolution lasted about 60 seconds, for out on the road, it ended up being a 52x14 though the first fast flat section, the 15 on the rises.  Had it turning pretty ok though I think.  Near the end I could feel the speed dipping on a few rollers, but it ended up a pretty steady effort.   I lost my time on the false flats, I could feel it.  

Now that Jack has been silenced, tomorrow night I'm going back to try to shave some time off.  I know the course a bit better, should be worth a few seconds.  It will hurt, but it will be fun.   I'm enjoying being an elderly grad student in the art of time trialing...call it unfinished business.


  1. That video of Ritter in the TT made me understand and love the time trial.

  2. "Pain as an icon" (08.46). As an old karate trainer that is something I understand. Pain as a sacrifice, proof of a job well done.

  3. Jorgen Leth directed the Hour Attempt by Ole Ritter the following year and it was really cool when I watched "A Sunday in Hell" a couple of years ago - I actually emailed Jorgen the same day (we had been in touch previously) and he told me he wrote the entire script for the film - how cool is that - get an instant answer from a director that is largely regarded as making the best cycling documentary ever filmed!!!



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