Time trialing. Perhaps the purest form of cycling? You against the clock. Nothing but blood in the back of your throat, molten lava coursing through your legs, and a sushi grade sear occurring in your lungs. We have all started that local time trial because someone told us it would be “fun”, and it was only a matter of moments within your effort did you realize that you had been duped into participating in voluntary torture. Yes, you did sign up for this, and it is awful.
I have participated in my fair share of time trials, and I am sure I will continue to do so. What can you say, I’m a glutton for science, measurable, and pain. I love watching people give their best efforts and wrestle with the depths of your soul that you can only meet when doing a time trial. Are you really doing a time trial or just playing dress up? Let’s check…
You may be doing a time trial if:
- You start talking to yourself in third person. Ex: “Alison, you are supposed to be good at this.”
- You start responding to your own third person rants. Ex. “No you aren’t, you just tell yourself you are.” “You are the one chose to do it, so like it.” “I hate it.” Etc. etc.
- The metallic taste in the back of your mouth, ragged breathing, and just enough pain in your legs is the “sweet spot” you were looking for.
- You are going as hard as you can. And you know what that means.
- You are familiar with a very dark part of yourself, and it may have a name. Ex. The Beast, The Inner B****, Dr. Evil, etc…
- There is a “mantra” you use to motivate yourself, and you can’t repeat it to others. It is either too embarrassing or too cruel for the general population.
- Vomit isn’t a necessary side effect but it is always a threat.
- Your breathing starts to sound like a song, or a donkey.
- You swear you will never do this again, and you will never eat smoked salmon before an event again.
- After you finish, every toddler and person on crutches can go faster than you. You gave it your all. Just walking elevates your heartrate. You are officially being dropped at the supermarket.
- You think there is a good chance you had a headwind both ways.
- You feel like a sausage in your skinsuit but it doesn’t phase you.
- You have drool, white film, snot, and who knows what all over your face. It is not confined, and you don’t care.
That being said, I have also noticed many that may not actually being doing a time trial. My apologies…but…
You may not be time trialing if:
- Your lipstick is still perfectly applied upon completion of your event.
- You have any form of hydration device on your bike. More points are deducted for the hydration pack between your aero bars. Unless your TT exceeds 1 hour, there is no drinking in time trialing! Speed over hydration.
- You finish and say, “I wish that time trial was longer”. If you did it right, no you don’t. Take it back.
- You finish and say, “That wasn’t hard!” You did it wrong.
- You wave at the photographer. There is no waving or smiling in a time trial. Even for mom.
- Your mom beats you in the time trial. Unless it’s my mom. She might beat you. Or my Grandpa.
- You look fresh and photo ready after the event. No one looks good time trialing. Not even Tony Martin. Sorry, Tony.
- You are in something sleeveless or your stomach is showing. Skin is not fast. Belly button rings create drag.
- You have never heard of the phrase “track hack” and you don’t know how it could be applied to you.
- You notice an attractive participant, fan, local farmer when you are riding and ask them for their number. Yes, this has happened.
- You are thinking of what you want to eat after the event. Believe me, there is no room for food in your system if you are doing it right.
- Speaking of food, there are no PowerBars stuck to your top tube of your bike. Food is not aero.
- You are wearing anything bulky, like jackets, or anything warm. The pure speed and effort will make your blood hot.
- You didn’t notice the wind direction.
- You wonder if your butt looks big in your skinsuit. Yes, it does. It always does.
- You use a sweatband to dab your mouth to ensure you look good, if you are even sweating or drooling.
Photo by Jono Devich