One hot lap of the Paraparap course, just under 19kms of rolling hills and lots of wind. That has been the focus of my training for the last two months after not being able to start the time trial at the Tour of Bright after crashing out on stage one. On Thursday it all paid off with one of the best time trials I’ve had.
We arrived 2hrs prior to my start time of 12:34pm. We drove the course in reverse so we could watch a few of the older age groups flying around. Lots of them showing signs of hurting in the first few kms due to the 30km/h+ headwind they had to contend with. It was looking brutal.
The Masters 1 category had six or seven entries. I’d had a quick glance at my competition and only took note of one rider, Michael Gallagher (Paralympic multi-gold medallist and world record holder on the track) from the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS). Michael rides A grade in the local crits and is also a very strong roadie. I didn’t know any other M1 names so I only had one to focus on, and luck had it, he was my minute man!
Lots of friendly faces across the other age categories. I had a quick chat to Michael and told him he was in my sights, but not for the first 4kms (his track speciality). My start time jumped up on me fast, slipping into the skinsuit and getting my numbers pinned on with only a few minutes to spare. After having checked and double checked everything I still managed to forget my shoe covers, which I only noticed in the final few kms of the race.
I’d run a 27:19 a few weeks back on the course with no aero helmet, no disc, and no skinsuit, so I was hoping for a mid to high 26 minute lap. 12:34pm – Show time. Off the start and lots of self control to get settled into a rhythm early. Up the road I could see Michael had a follow van (damn it, why do the sponsored riders get all the perks!). The up side was that with a follow car, it made things easier for me to pace against him. Up hills it felt like I was pulling him in, but as soon as they hit the downhills it felt like I was 2 minutes back. I was tempted to switch my Polar to show my lap time so I could see how far I was from Michael but decided instead to keep it simple and ride my own race and give it everything.
There is no question that it hurt. It really hurt. But with all the TT training in the legs I was buffering out the pain and pacing was going well. My HR was spot on – just above my 1hr effort heart rate (good for a sub 1hr time trial). After 10kms of head wind, it was onto Anglesea Rd and a few kms of smooth surface with a nice tail wind. At 55km/h+ that section was over in no time. The final 8kms were up hill with the wind over my left shoulder. I didn’t seem to be pulling Michael in, but he wasn’t getting any further away. This section of the course has three or four long rises that can make or break the effort. By this time the race was half done and I was smashing these rollers with everything I had. By the second last turn (1.5kms to go) I knew I was very close to the minute mark from Michael, but I was still not going to measure the time it took for me to reach the corner, I spent the mental effort keeping good form and thinking ahead to how I’d ride the final km. Into the final corner, into a big gear and I gave it everything. Passing the 1km to go sign my effort was slowly rising to being all-out. 200m from the final hill crest and everything was burning – now I could feel the pain. The finish line was at the base of a hill so as long as the effort at the top was maximal getting to the line was to simply ‘hold on’! Over the line to the cheers of a handful of good mates from Hawthorn and Von who was taking action shots of the final moments. 25:47. I was spent. That was everything I had. That ride was months of training, months of disappointment after Bright, frustration of a second broken collar bone, and many hours in off the bike preparation.
Just before the presentations all results were printed out and posted for all to see, except the M1 category. Michael and I were talking shop while waiting the results. We both knew it would be close. The medal presentations were under way before our results were published. Lots of good results for Hawthorn in W3, M4, M3 and M2. “And M1.. in third place Jarrod Evans”. Good good, I was confident of the head to head battle for 1-2. Just don’t call my name for second!... “and in second place…. Michael Gallagher”. Oh yeah! “and in first we had Shane Miller”. Masters 1 Gold and best time of the day!
Masters 1 Results:
1 MILLER, Shane Vic M1 25:47.30
2 GALLAGHER, Michael Vic M1 26:05.93
3 EVANS, Jarrod Vic M1 27:00.99