Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Victory Favors Preparedness: As The Raven Flies Time Trial

Digging deep into the final 200m. (Photo from

The Time Trial, Le Contre La Montre, the Race of Truth. There are many names for this simple contest. Individual cyclists ride a short course and the victor is chosen based on time. As The Raven Flies was the second TT I’d raced, and the first that wasn’t apart of a stage race. It was an exciting opportunity to test my legs and to see where my fitness was at going into the season. The Race of Truth.

I showed up with plenty of time to spare, the rain had mostly stopped, and I was feeling good about the race. As I test rode the course though, I noticed my crank arms were loose. I only have one power meter that I transfer from one bike to another, and I thought I’d forgotten to get it fully tightened before this race. With twenty minutes before I was to be on the start line, I set out to try and find someone who had a 10mm allen key.

Talking to a number of riders who were equally mechanically unprepared as myself, I started to worry I’d just have to do the race with my crank loose. Then, at the end of a row of cars, I found a rider warming up who proffered me use of his fully loaded Parktool tool kit. But when I tried to tighten the cranks, I realized they already were. The real problem was that I’d forgotten a washer when I put them on. Well, “fuck it,” I said, I’ll do the race with loose cranks anyway.

Sitting on the line, a race volunteer supported the rails of my saddle while they counted down the time to my start. The course was six miles out and six miles back, with a decent amount of elevation gain for a TT, so I knew I had to pace myself on the way out and then excavate deep into the pain cave on the way back.

Cuz’ that’s how you race a TT. Only problem was, going up the first climb my loose crankset allowed the chain to slip off during a shift. I was forced to dismount and pull it back on, loosing valuable seconds and momentum. This just further motivated my drive for the rest of the race though. And while I was unable to make up the lost time to take home the W, I did set a personal record for power output for a 30-minute period. A sign of peak fitness and a strong season to come!

Until next time, Ride On!
Kyle McCall

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