Saturday 24th of August, the ITT:
it didn’t look good. i’d traveled from Taiwan the day before, arriving at 9pm after a 5 hour flight, forgetting to wear my compression socks (no not the cool ones that cost the price of a very good for meal for two, but the office lady ones you can get at any decent drug store for $3 that, has to be said, look just like women’s knee socks) and battered after a week of running around packing, chasing my Mongolian visa (it arrived three hours before i had to leave Taiwan), sorting out lodging for the crankpooch (thanks Rachel) and trying to train.
the training had been very patchy – the weekend off due to tiredness, Monday 5 hrs, Tuesday 3 and one on the indoor trainer on Wednesday.
then I arrive in Sing and there’s no TT bike for me, just a roadie with TT bars and a front tri wheel and a 90mm rear. considering that every other competitor had a full TT rig, and everything else, I figured I’d have my work cut out for me to replicate the win in the same race in 2011.
well, at least I had a skinsuit and a TT helmet…
my biggest rival would be Tjarco Cuppens – my teammate, who was gleeful about the fact that he had the top of the line Lapierre TT bike with which to defend his 2012 title.
gleeful in that Dutch way, you know? like, LOVING IT! I kept my cool but I was thinking ‘man if I lose to you by ten seconds there will be some shouting to come later…’
the route was a 10km route to be travelled four times, basically flat but with the return a bit of a false flat. I forgot my garmin mount so was riding blind, so to speak, but knew I had to just ride as hard as I could – the usual for TTs.
that’s the beauty of training by PRE – perceived rate of exertion – after a few months, or years in my case, you just know what you can do and, thanks to being unfettered by wattage and heart bleeps, you can often find the will to go above and beyond.
I love the freedom of riding like this. sometimes you blow, but when it clicks and you get the flow it is something else, so liberating.
and so, with Tjarco, a good friend of mine as well as teammate, 2 minutes behind me, I knew I had to blast it, and blast I did. by the 20km mark it was obvious I wasn’t being caught and I knew I still had some in reserve.
I lost focus for a few km, my mind wandering to life, love and all the stuff in between, but with 10km to go I locked in again and drove as hard as I could.
for the last 5km I was hurting but in a state of near bliss. the legs were purring, burning but singing, and drove the last 600m out of the saddle.
in the end I won by around 30 seconds (timing messed up apparently), coming in somewhere near 54 minutes. not bad on a roadie, and an indicator that all the long distance training on the MTB for Mongolia had crossed over.
I don’t race just to win, but man, when it happens it is one of the greatest feelings.
a great day, and an excellent one-two for our Lapierre Asia Cycling Team to start off the weekend…