My legs are burning, my lungs are burning, the bike is not particularly comfortable or forgiving, but I love the feeling of racing in a time trial. While some people prefer the strategy and ebb and flow of a road race or even a group ride, I love to push myself to my limits and then find a way to push beyond those limits without the worry of what other riders are doing around me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy other kinds of racing and riding as well, but time trials challenge me in a painful way that I thoroughly enjoy.
One aspect of TT-ing that I love is the challenge of trying to catch someone who started ahead of me. If I see a little colored speck moving on the road in the distance, it motivates me to push just that much harder. If that speck starts to grow larger and larger and I realize I am making time on that person, I completely lose any feelings of pain or suffering. My sole focus at that point is to keep reeling that person in. It is exhilarating to be able to dig that deep and find that speed and power that only comes with the adrenaline or racing.
The other day, I was watching a video with professional cyclist Taylor Phinney where he was giving some of his own time trial tips and one thing he said that stood out to me in particular was, “I prefer the position of a time trial bike because it feels more like I am flying instead of sitting on this thing and pedaling.” I feel the exact same way, which is another reason for my love of time trials. Once you get into a good position and get over the somewhat uncomfortable nature of the bike, it really does feel like you are flying over the roads. I feel like a missile, soaring over the ground, rather than a person pedaling a bike.
Furthermore, I enjoy the mental aspect of time trial racing. You must have mental fortitude and the ability to love suffering, especially if you don’t have the motivation of having a carrot to chase. I usually set a time goal for myself before most time trials, so if I don’t have another rider in my sights then I start to look at the clock. Halfway through any TT, if I notice I am a bit off the time and pace I was shooting for, that gives me the impetus to dig deeper and really give it everything I’ve got. I am never disappointed in myself for how I place in a time trial, but if I feel like I didn’t give it one hundred and twenty percent that’s when I start to beat myself up. If I come in last place, but I know I gave it everything I had, then I am happy with that result for the day.
When I race a time trial it always shows me that I am stronger than I thought I was. It confirms that if I really focus on the task at hand and push the feelings of pain and suffering aside, I can truly fly on the bike.