Time trials. The race against the clock. The race of truth. The race of pain…
Time trials are probably the purest test of physical abilities in the cycling world, with no small measure of psychological toughness required as well.. There is always some amount of strategy in every human competition, but here the strategy is simply about how to meter out your power in such a way that you don’t blow up somewhere in the middle. There is no drafting, no jockeying for position, no antics. Just rider, bike and the course in front of them.
This particular time trial was put on by and for Cycle Folsom. It was a 10.2 mile course – 5 miles out and back – with some short but steep risers in the path. It was staged along the South canals in Rancho Cordova.
Officially, this was not a competitive time trial but more of a measure – a benchmark – against which to track training progress. Of course, take any group of folks and involve a stop watch and you’ll have at the very least comparisons, and likely competitions. So while it was a friendly event – and there was encouragements all around – I do know where in the rankings my elapsed time fell.
This was definitely a learning experience for me. I came out way too hard and was already at the redline withing the first mile or so. I had to intentionally slow myself – to a rate much less than my strength would allow – in order to get my heart rate and breathing under control. Only with a more realistic cardio rate could I then push my body to the limits again. Lesson learned
I also seem to be getting a whole lot better at acknowledging – and then ignoring – pain in my legs. Use it as an indicator of the amount of effort you are exerting for sure. But it should not be a deterrent.
The great thing about this course is that it is a fixed quantity. I can go back here again – ride the exact same route – and compare my times throughout the year.