I’ve raced all over the country in road, ‘cross and mountain bike disciplines but in ten years I’ve never raced a TT, despite being transfixed on the TT stages in the grand tours. On Thursday the 25th of April I put that right!
Like I say I’ve been lucky to race all over the place in different disciplines, but the sport of TT racing has always eluded me until now. It conjures up images of all of the great riders in my mind, hunched over the extensions trying to gain maximum aerodynamic efficiency whilst big powerful thighs propel their bodies forward.
My local club, Southborough & District Wheelers, put a massive number of TT events on through the summer across most Thursday nights and regularly at the weekends. The first thing that struck me when I turned up on Thursday was how well organised it was for such a small organisation. I quickly signed in, paid my money and wobbled off for a practice on my TT bike.
I’ve never ever ridden a TT bike before so getting down onto the extensions was scary as hell! But there was no other way of changing gear so I got my act together and went for it. Matt from Tribeca Sport had lent me the awesome Argon 18 E116 which looked and felt like a rocketship. Together with a quick Retul bike fitting by Adrian (Bike Science South-East/Tribeca Sport) the bike was ready, but was the rider?
Standing in the line at the start was pretty much the scariest bit – once I was going, I was simply riding the way I normally do. I settled into the position fairly well I think and quickly gained a bit of confidence on the extensions – there’s actually quite a lot of stability provided by two things. Firstly the frame seems very well natured and I’m told by those who know, that the Argon 18 is a very stable platform and also once you get the beast up to speed you receive an awesome amount of gyroscopic effect from the wheels. Far, far more than I’ve felt on a road bike.
The “Ladies Mile” course is a classic and consists of a couple of sweeping bends, a long medium paced hill with a little kick at the end, the “mile” itself, a long fast downhill and a short sharp Belgian climb to finish. In my limited experience I think this is one of the local courses that would suit my climbers physic best so it was a good one to have a crack at first I reckon.
After two laps I was in control of the bike and ready to give it the beans on my return to the finish line, but coming up to the long downhill I could feel a certain sogginess in the front end! My front tub was going down, but still had about half of its 140 psi left so I put Matt’s worried voice out of my head and picked out the smoothest line down the hill that I could find! Coming over the finish line I was almost down to the rim, but I was happy – I can’t have lost too much time and Matt’s bike was still in one piece. Job done!
The race felt quite like a cross race to me – flat out and in the red for as much time as you can muster. I’ve got to learn to relax my arms a little and concentrate on quickly getting back into the TT position, but that’ll come with time. The main thing is that I can safely say I’ll be back. Great race, fantastic weather, amazing bike and a really welcoming atmosphere.
1. Chris Wolton 29.43
2. Matt Kuwertz 30.29
3. Ian Hodge 30.43
4. Andy Morley 31.31
5. Neil Couchman 32.06
(Glen Whittington 32.59)*
6. Matt Evans 33.42
7. Darren Pollard 34.02
8. Tim Christian 34.45
9. Peter Collyer 35.47
10. Andrew Thomas 37.05
*Non-member at time of race.
Glen runs THE.TRIBECA.SPORT.WØRKSHOP which is based at 28 London Road, Southborough, TN4 0QB – 01892 533 339 – firstname.lastname@example.org . The shop specialises in precision servicing, race prepping, 3D bike fitting and high quality bikes and equipment. Drop in, give us a call, visit our Facebook page or browse our website for more details. He also runs the shop race team and club as well as racing ‘cross, road and cross-country nationally.
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