Not even Andy Schlek (with apologies to Calexico)

Race Report PDCC Time Trial Hopelands 9 January 2013

I would not normally write a race report for a time trial, it is very much an individual event, however, by popular request here it is.

I have only ridden a handful of time trials, all except the last one on my road bike. Just before Christmas I had purchased myself a little present a Kuota Kalibuer TT bike. My first attempt at a 16km time trial on it, resulted in me spending less than 10 minutes on the TT bars, and most the time in a far less aerodynamic position on the regular bars.

So over Christmas, I put in some time of the TT bike in aero position and was hoping to spend most of my time, at least 25 minutes of the 27 plus minutes it would take to complete the course. It was less than a couple of hundred kms of practise, so I was not that confident riding in the aero position. The wind did not help a 30kph gusting to 45kph south westerly on a course that runs 8km due South before turning due North, on a almost perfectly straight, almost flat road with a few rough patches.

I did not expect to catch the riders in front. Behind me at 1 minute was Kellie. At my age I could expect to be competitive with a young woman of Kellie’s age. However, all things are not equal and those Australian Championship bands on Kellie’s jersey sleeve, meant I will be caught. A minute further back was Reg would regularly rides close to 24 minutes, my aim was not to get caught by Reg before the turnaround.

It was a slog into the wind, I stayed in the aero position for most the ride into the wind, and ticked along at 30kph, but I did not reach my target, Reg caught me with about 1km to go. I then made a complete mess of the turn, which was a chance for Kellie to pass me.

On the way back, I ended up sitting about 2m back and 2m to the left of Kellie. So I was not in her slipstream and was a safe distance away given my questionable TT bike handling skills. However, it was a big benefit to have a better rider in front of me, as an incentive. We were managing 43 to 45kph with the tailwind.

When a car approached head on, I dropped back a few metres and was about a 1m from the edge, After the car passed I was distracted with the decision to dropped back a couple metres more to stay out of Kellie’s slipstream or move back to my original position. When in a momentary lapse of concentration, I assume a gust of wind and a over correction on my behalf. I suddenly found myself off the road and on the gravel.

A choice expletive, I knew I had to slow down and be in full control of the bike, before trying to take corrective action. I sat upright and was about to move my hands from the TT bars, when I felt the front wheel go. So I threw myself left into a ditch, instead of risking impact with the road.

Next thing I remember, I was picking myself and my bike out of the ditch, no broken bones, though my shoulder was a little sore. The bike, other than a dropped chain, a rear derailleur issues, both brakes rubbing and a little dirt. It survived the impact with the dirt bank, like me surprisingly well. Took me over 3 minutes to get the bike working, at which time I decided just to cruise back to the finish. Which lasted until I got passed by Harry, so I put in an effort to stay in touch, though by now my ribs where a little tender.

Did not make it back to Harry, but finished within a minute of my best time, if you take out the time stationary to get the bike moving.

It was only when I finished and people started asking what happened, did I realise I was now a dark shade of grade all over, from hitting the dirt bank. If there was a rider following, they would of seen a huge dust cloud as the result of my impact.

So there I was in my now gray old Saxo Bank kit and Angel of the Mountain/Luxembourg socks, explaining how I manage to crash on a perfectly straight section of road without outside interference. It is called rider error.

One Response to “Not even Andy Schlek (with apologies to Calexico)”

  1. Reg Says:

    Nick, now I know your cunning plans on pacing yourself lol. Alls well that ends well although you did look funny at the end of the race. I predict if you stay upright this week and stay aero you will beat your best time.