My favorite race of the season
This past Saturday the team headed south again, this time for the Exeter Team Time Trial. As long as I have been on the bike team, this has been one of my favorite races. My first year on the team, the road which they hold the course on was under construction, so the race was changed to an individual time trial on a nearby road.
Let me start off by saying I love time trials. This is a new love I’ve developed mostly this year, not that I don’t like riding with other people, but I enjoy riding against myself. Time Trails can be complicated though, and it is kind of a hit-or-miss thing, you have to pace yourself correctly and everyone has good and bad days.
Last Saturday was definitely a good day. The Team Time Trial is particularly exciting because it isn’t just a plain 10-mile-out-and-back race in any way. First of all, you have a partner! Secondly, the course is full of all kinds of turns, corners and zig-zags that keep you on your toes (metaphorically of course). For me, the sensation of flying into a corner and feeling the way your bike tilts as you sweep through the arc is just about as close to flying as you may ever get. There were several particularly tricky corners, and a few changes to the course since last year. There was one less 180 degree turn, but the S-Turns were turned into something more like Z-Turns that felt like two 180s put together. There were also a number of crashes around a sharper than 90 degree turn that had large boulders covered by hay bales on one edge. In a frightening turn of events, a cyclist from another team over-shot the turn in his first lap and went straight into one of the rocks, flipping over right next to Coach Southam’s shoulder and landing on the hay bale. Thankfully, he was just fine, but he cracked the frame of his bike!
The Gould Academy Road Cycling Team had a fantastic showing at the race, cleaning up well in a manner reminiscent of the previous year. All of our riders attacked the course with confidence in the corners and some good old fashioned all out aggression. We had a few riders hit the deck but none injured, everyone finished strongly. Because the team time trial is a lap race, we could all watch the other groups race. When you’re in the middle of a fight for a few seconds on the group in front of or behind you, hearing familiar voices shouting encouragement gives you a little extra boost. The energy at the race was great in general, there were a lot of spectators and parents.
I was lucky and more than happy to be partnered with someone who I am good friends with outside of cycling- Isabelle (’14). Despite a few hiccups in practice, we worked really well together and figured out quickly that communication makes everything go a lot more smoothly. We may have gone off the start line a bit enthusiastically, but I was stoked with our pace. On one of our first laps, there was a rider down across the narrowest part of the course and Isabelle showed off her bike-handling skills getting around it. I had a blast riding with her and was stoked on how we ended up at the end of the race.
Here’s how the team did overall:
Boy’s C race: 1st, 6th, 7th
Girl’s C race: 1st, 8th, 11th, 14th
Boy’s B race: 1st, 3rd
Girl’s A race: 1st, 3rd
Boy’s A race: 4th, 7th
That’s all for now! Our next race is the Killington Mountain School Hill Climb Time Trial!