Funny old business, time-trialling. Its devotees spend ages punishing themselves alone on turbos, wattbikes and the like, only to then spend slightly short periods of time punishing themselves alone on the road, on bikes that cost more than some cars.
For career masochists like our own Dutchy, who will soon be facing the likes of Wiggo and Dr Hutch again this year on account of his talent and appetite for solo suffering, this is all good. But for regular folk who don’t, as Ben lyrically suggested in the forum, “live in caves (or Market Weighton) and eat baby crows”, the TT world can be a bit offputting. (Especially if you try and navigate the profoundly cryptic CTT website, but that’s a whole ‘nother rant).
Which is why 2-ups are good. You at least get to share the pain – and the kudos/blame, depending on the outcome – with someone else. And the ride itself arguably becomes more interesting – a test of teamwork and formation riding skill as well. No doubt there are severe high priests of time-trialling who think TTTs are for girlymen and that the only ‘race of truth’ is one person against the clock. Judging by most of the faces who had done the 24-mile hardriders course on Sat 17th, though, it seemed most had been putting in a pretty hard effort.
Ben and I set off with a reasonably well organised plan – 1) smooth changes with no hammering through so the person just returning from duty on the front has to sprint like a madman to get back on; 2) Ben on the front more when the road dipped downhill, on account of his being more slippery with the Zipp 404s he’d blagged for the day; 3)1-minutes turns or thereabouts 4) general full-effort, raaargh!, committed kind of behaviour.
We came close to a morale dip when one of the Team Swift pairs passed us even before we’d got to Hutton Cranswick, effortlessly whooshing by on full low-profile machines with full disc rear wheels and all the usual slippery TT gadgetry. That moment was almost immortalised by Rich Cutsforth’s short film here:
The road to Driff was smooth as always and then, as we knew, things got tougher as we swung into the wind and the bumpy roads in the Bainton direction. An unsettling mechanical sound as Ben hit a small hole I hadn’t pointed in time could have had interesting consequences: turned out back at HQ it had loosened his front spindle. Good job we didn’t pull any wheelies.
By this point I was briefly finding it easier on the front than on Ben’s wheel, but managed to recover some composure by Bainton. On the run back in to Beverley we were passed by Nathan and Shack, who then slowed down tantalisingly before romping off up the road. Somewhere in view of the South Dalton spire I saw 52 mins on the computer and thought our chances of getting round under the hour were fading. But it seemed rude not to put the hammer down, so we pushed hard up the final couple of short hills and by Cherry Burton the time was looking good. It was time for some serious shouting and some raargh! head-down behaviour and despite a slightly disorganised sprint for the line (me forgetting the ‘smoothness’ rule) we crossed it together at 58:41.
Happy with that, for standard road bikes. Be great to see what we could do on full-on TT machines but then we would end up penniless… and drawn to the dark side.
Kudos to the other VC Beverley duo Matt Beaumont and Martin Parker, coming in with a very respectable 1:02 on standard road bikes, in their first ever competitive cycling event. I reckon that’s a time they’ll smash in 2013.
In this world of information overload there now follows a mass of stats, pix and reports on what was essentially a short batter round some A and B roads.
Some pics on Print my Ride (can’t insert ’em for copyright reasons):