After my first week of hard work, I took Monday off to recover a bit. My motivation was high going into week two, and with sunny days in the forecast I was looking forward to riding.
Sydney Velo cycling club hosts a 17.5 km time trial every Tuesday evening in the summer. I decided to give it a shot last week, so I hopped on a time trial bike for the first time since last July. It was my first time ever riding my team-provided bike.
I rode to the race, trying to get comfortable with the faintly-familiar aero position. I stopped several times to adjust the saddle height, and was pleasantly surprised by how good the bike felt. Perhaps I felt a bit relieved as well. I was still stressed on the way there though, anxious about the tt. I hadn’t pushed myself in a time trial for ages, and I’ve not been fond of them since returning to racing after my concussion in 2015. My mind always wanders during the effort, and I’m invariably disappointed by my time.
I made an effort to start the race with a positive mindset. The last thing I need to do is psyche myself out. There was no pressure on me, and physically I felt good. I told myself to forget about any of my past time trials. I’m starting over with cycling, so this would be my first tt. You can’t express negative thoughts toward an experience you’ve never had, right?
I wasn’t sure what to aim for, but figured 25 minutes would be a decent goal, keeping in mind that I’m not yet fit. I paced it quite well, with a first lap of just under 12 minutes. As I crossed the start/finish, I decided I should have been aiming for a time of 23 minutes. I tried to pick it up a little, but ended up with 23:40, which was good enough for fourth, 30 seconds off the winning time set by Jay Lamareaux. I was pleased, and rode up Mt. Doug on the way home.
On Wednesday I rode (hammered) with the Victoria Wheelers team to get to the Caleb Pike VCL. Caleb Pike is another 2.7ish km circuit race, which we ride around 18 times. I spent the day on and off the front, safe from crashes and prepared to bridge to attempted attacks. I didn’t spend a single full lap in the pack, but was unsuccessful in all of my attempts to stay away. With Caleb Pike being the final stage of the Broad Street Omnium, teams in contention for the overall were never happy having anyone up the road. My main motive was to get a hard ride in though, and that I did.
Coming into the finish I was in a decent position on Isaac Leblanc’s wheel, but a rider with more momentum came from behind and took my line, forcing me to brake. Lots of guys got around me and that was that. After the race, I rode the long way home with some Wheelers.
I took Thursday off, and on Friday I did the 6 am Tripleshot Hammer Fest again. This time, I felt strong, and made it further than the 20th minute, which marked my fate the previous week. I was leading the group over the little kickers on the route, and held out for a photo finish with my old team mate Raph in final sprint. I continued on for another two hours of endurance, on a beautifully sunny morning. I finished with 105 km by 9:15. It was a really, really good day for my morale.
I then spent several hours hiking and swimming at Sooke Potholes. I definitely spent a little too much time in the sun.
The Oak Bay ride on Saturday was a little more of a challenge. I was tired and woke up feeling a bit cold-like. Perhaps so many hours in the sun the previous day had taken a bit of a toll. It was another gorgeous day though, and it was the first ride of the year that I set out with only a short-sleeved jersey and shorts, no arm-warmers or vest. We had a massive turnout. I was able to stay with the lead group and finished third or fourth in the sprint, but I definitely wasn’t as strong as I would have liked.
I was happy to discover the freshly baked brownies at Oak Bay Bicycles on my way home. That was definitely the highlight of the ride.
I had no one to ride with on Sunday, so I tried out a group ride that I had just learned about. We met for the Tripleshot ‘gentlemen’s’ ride at 7:30; a friendly group made-up mostly of masters. It rolls at a steady 30-35 kph for two hours, with a couple of little sprints and rest breaks along the way. At first I was concerned with how slow we were going, thinking that I needed to be riding harder and pushing myself. After a while, I managed to relax, telling myself to remember not to sink into old habits; not to remove the fun.
I enjoyed the friendly chats and encouragement, and before I knew it, I only had two hours left of my four hour ride. I rode with a friend for an hour, then went to William Head Correctional Institution and got yelled at by an invisible man for hanging out in the parking lot for too long. So I rode home.
I’ve never done a ride like the gentlemen’s’ before, and I quite enjoyed it. I’ll be doing it again for sure.
Another week done and another 17 hours and 500+ km on Training Peaks. I’ve got a long, long way to go, but I’m happy with how far I’ve come thus far. No wins in the foreseeable future, but hopefully I’ll be helping out the H&R boys soon enough!