When I learned earlier this week that the Tompkins Hill Time Trial was scheduled for today, March 1, a depressing thought occurred to me – there was a good chance I would be slower than I was during my first time trial last October.
It’s not a matter of being out of shape. I’ve been doing a lot of riding, just not the right kind of riding to build speed.
Being that my weakness in cycling is speed, last September I started a special training regimen involving short, fast rides. They were my own personal time trials. I’d ride 10, 15 or 20 miles as fast as I could. The technical term I came up with for this kind of riding is “balls out.”
The training paid off when I competed in my first time trial at the end of October. I completed the 11.5 mile course with a time of 33:26. My computer showed an average speed of about 20.5 mph.
That’s not fast enough to be remotely competitive in cycling around here and if I were racing in a criterium at that speed I’d probably get lapped by the pack. But it was my fastest ride to date, so I was tickled pink.
Then the holidays came. Then the rains. And my riding habits changed. I’ve climbed a few mountains and zipped up to Trinidad at a decent pace, but no “balls out” riding.
On Thursday afternoon I decided to do a pre-time trial test. I pedalled to Trinidad and back as fast as I could. My average speed was 1 mph less than what I recorded for the same ride last October. Yep, I was slower.
That slower pace continued at today’s time trial. I had a time of 34:45, with an average speed of 19.3. (Note: I haven’t done the math to determine whether the average speed indicated by my bike computer jives with the official times. It really doesn’t matter. It’s all relative.)
I attribute my slower pace to a lack of training and, to some degree, pure laziness. When I finished the race, my legs felt fine and I was hardly huffing and puffing. Had I given it my all, I would have felt some pain.
I’ll just have to use today’s experience as an excuse to ride more, and ride smarter.