So today I entered my first ever pure cycling race. I’ve obviously done some triathlons and a duathlon before, but I’ve never done a cycling event knowing I won’t have to run at the end of it. It was the Coventry Road Club‘s 10 mile time trial (TT).
The event is what it says on the tin, ten miles as fast as you can go. It’s you against the clock and although there were medals up for grabs, most competitors use TT’s to measure progress and improvement on speed, stamina etc. I was one of the very few competitors who actually cycled to the event. It was near Wolvey Heath, a small village 9 miles out of Coventry, but the people I spoke to drove there from places like Birmingham and Derbyshire.
Cycling there was the first hurdle. I knew the route but got to a T junction and read the road signs wrong, so took a right instead of left and added about 6 km on to my warm up. But I got there fine, registered and got my race number.
The race started at 2.01pm with number one, so I was due to set off at 2.32pm. It was about 1.45pm, so I chilled for a bit by registration, in awe of all the expensive TT bikes but also eyeing up the cakes that were on offer for afterwards. Then I did some steady cycling around the nearby roads. Most of the people were warming up at quite a pace, some on turbo trainers which I guess is understandable if they’d driven for an hour to get there, but after my 55 minute cycle from home to Wolvey, I was just taking it easy in the minutes before my race.
Then it was time, I got to the start line and ate a banana for last minute fuel to power me through. On the start line, a guy held me upright on my bike so I could clip in and have a standing start, he gave me a nice push too and I was off.
It was a flat course, with not much of a change in gradient, but I still hadn’t ridden these roads before, so all I knew was that it was straight down to the roundabout, turn around and come back. I felt pretty good at the start and managed to stay in a good gear, a couple of guys overtook me, but I wasn’t racing against them or their TT bikes.
At about the 6th/7th mile I started to struggle and my legs were getting tired, but soon enough, some marshalls cheered me on and I picked up the pace again. As I usually go about 25km/h, I figured I was aiming for a time of 38 minutes. I crossed the finish line and cycled slowly back to the registration area to see my time. There it was, on the board.
Leona – UoN Tri – Road bike, Novice – 33.47
I was over the moon! I celebrated with a warm cup of tea and a blueberry muffin and then got chatting to some of the ladies who were there. One of which is the female world record holder for 1000 miles cycling time trial! We chatted about the course, our times, other events, where we’d come from and all cyclists’ favourite app – Strava.
I waited until the medal ceremony and looked at the other peoples’ times. To my further shock and excitement, I was 4th female novice, which really put the icing on the cake (metaphorically, my muffin didn’t magically get iced!). I was so chuffed to set a base time for future cycling events (I will enter more) and to be 15 seconds away from a medal. I’m so glad I took part, thanks to all the organisers and marshalls, I hope I can get on the podium next time.
* Although it was a 10 mile time trial, I actually racked up over 34 miles today