Waiting for the Man

You have three questions going through your mind:
How far to go?
How hard am I trying?
Is the pace sustainable for that distance?
If the answer is “yes”, that means you’re not trying hard enough. If it’s no, it’s too late to do anything about it. You’re looking for the answer “maybe”.

Chris Boardman, on The Hour Record, Rouleur

Cyclists, whether on the start line of a race or at the café before a group ride, are a chatty bunch. How’s your training going? The legs feeling alright? How do you like Di2? I could never go electronic, need to feel the cable, you know – need to be connected to my bike. 

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “substantive conversation”; we are more leg than brain, after all. But no matter how good the form has been, we are always worried that it has somehow left us, and worry tends to make the mouth go. Chatter distracts the mind from the doubts that should have been nagging us the last month about our training, but who only turned up about ten minutes before we arrived to the start, long after there was anything we could do about it.

The Contre la Montre, on the other hand, always shows a different rider. No matter how dominant the rider, they are always deep in thought, never chuckling, never grinning. There is no one to lighten the mood, no distracting the mind from the pain and inherent uncertainty of the body’s ability to cope with the suffering that is to come. There is an appointment with the Man with the Hammer somewhere on the road you are about to travel down; he is as unpredictable as he is ruthless.

The rider who waits on the start line of a time trial is a rider who is squaring up with the reality that no matter the state of their training, they are waiting for the man.

Related Posts

68 Replies to “Waiting for the Man”

  1. For me, there’s a variant: the PD curve, which is defined as ‘can I tolerate the quantity of Pain required for the Duration of the effort?’. My sweet spot is between 3 and 10 minutes, roughly. Shorter efforts end before I’ve managed to achieve maximal agony, and longer efforts bring out the designated quitter to whale away on my desire to continue.

  2. “The Contre la Montre, on the other hand, always shows a different rider. No matter how dominant the rider, they are always deep in thought, never chuckling, never grinning. There is no one to lighten the mood, no distracting the mind from the pain and inherent uncertainty of the body’s ability to cope with the suffering that is to come. There is an appointment with the Man with the Hammer somewhere on the road you are about to travel down; he is as unpredictable as he is ruthless.”

    there is some absolutely stellar writing on this site, this being but one example.  the thing about good writing is, ya know, it must not only be elegant, but real.  nobody that has ever suffered alone in the wind, could help but FEEL this.

    i remember my first road time trial like it happened this morning.  it was board flat, so i decided to use my omnium bike, with a 52×16.  there were a few good riders participating, not elite level, but the kind of club riders one quickly earns immense respect for the first time pulls are taken in a crosswind at 27mph.  they all gave me the side eye when they saw me queue up on a track bike, but, when all was said and done, i narrowly missed the top 5, and beat a dozen-plus riders on funny bikes in the process.  after that, i was more or less respected, and it felt good, cause some of them were already mythically strong, to me.

    i mean, road racing of any kind gives you a new definition of strong, after awhile.  learning to jump down that well of hurt headfirst without hesitation is not a thing that comes naturally to many.

    i loved this piece.

     

  3. I was going to write something insightful about cycling but all I can currently think about is how brilliant a guitarist Mick Ronson was. I’ll get back to you.

  4. @Oli

    Got twenty-six dollars in my hand…just in case I need to stop at a cafe.

    Got £20 in my hand…just in case I need a taxi.

  5. @JohnB

    Got £20 in my hand…just in case I need a taxi.

    Doesn’t get you far nowadays…. So you’d better crash close to home then. Take plastic with you.

  6. I think it’s because you just know what’s going to happen in a TT.

    A road race can unfold in a hundred different ways. A TT will be either brilliantly painful or horribly painful and not much in between… spot the common thread.

    It’s also that you have that stone cold minute when the rider in front has gone. You roll up to the line, wait for the 30 second call before clipping in and having the bike held and then the final five second countdown – all your thoughts are bouncing around in your pointy helmet.

    And at the end I hate it when you’re a few seconds away from some benchmark. In three of the five open TTs I’ve done this year I’ve been one place off a podium or prize money, and the gaps have been 3, 4 and 9 seconds. In hindsight it’s always easy to think you could have gone 5 or 10 seconds faster but it’s bloody hard to think of that on the road.

    There is one great thing about TTs which deserves a mention though – the minute man.

    I love having someone to chase. I still stick to my gameplan but it’s fun seeing whether you are catching them up and going past someone early on is quite uplifting.

    On the other hand I hate being caught.

     

  7. A cyclist showed up at our club’s 2km uphill time trial yesterday. There’s a 500 m stretch at 10+% and tops off around 18%. It’s not easy. This dude knocked it off in 13 minutes. The catch? He was racing a hand cycle straight up the hill. Additionally, three of our local Jr’s racers showed up and set first time PR’s. And finally, at 04:55 we had an all time club record set. And thing was, at last minute I had a work obligation come up. Most times work is priority. But having scheduled the TT and responsible for organizing and timing I had to beg off. This particular TT is not the popular one in the club. Like I said, it’s not an easy one. I was just hoping some folks would show. Turned out to be epic. A friggen hand cycle ?? Awesome to be witness. Cheers all

  8. @ChrisO

    I think it’s because you just know what’s going to happen in a TT.

    Oddly, I tend to feel calmer and more chatty prior to a TT. Like you say, you know what is going to happen and that is largely down to your form/fitness, which will become apparent as you start mashing the pedals. The pain is inevitable. The only nerves are the slight uncertainties about whether you’ll get one of those ‘floating’ days or one of those days where it feels like a massive struggle.

    And I know what you mean about the minute man – my best ride last season was where I kept my minute man in sight for the whole ride; a guy I know and who’s pb is somewhat better than mine. I could just feel that I was reeling him in and in fact passed him just after the line. What a great feeling.

    I have a road race this weekend, on the Gower, and I’m shitting myself. What I’m most worried about is watching the bunch disappear up the road on the first steep climb.

  9. @ChrisO

    I think it’s because you just know what’s going to happen in a TT.

    A road race can unfold in a hundred different ways. A TT will be either brilliantly painful or horribly painful and not much in between… spot the common thread.

    It’s also that you have that stone cold minute when the rider in front has gone. You roll up to the line, wait for the 30 second call before clipping in and having the bike held and then the final five second countdown – all your thoughts are bouncing around in your pointy helmet.

    And at the end I hate it when you’re a few seconds away from some benchmark. In three of the five open TTs I’ve done this year I’ve been one place off a podium or prize money, and the gaps have been 3, 4 and 9 seconds. In hindsight it’s always easy to think you could have gone 5 or 10 seconds faster but it’s bloody hard to think of that on the road.

    There is one great thing about TTs which deserves a mention though – the minute man.

    I love having someone to chase. I still stick to my gameplan but it’s fun seeing whether you are catching them up and going past someone early on is quite uplifting.

    On the other hand I hate being caught.

    Really great insight and thoughts.

    I agree with loving having the rabbit out front but I, personally, live in pure mortal fear and dread of the guy coming up from behind!

    And yes, I have won the Wooden Medal more than once over the last few years and it so sucks, doubly-so if you are only a few seconds back!

  10. @Oli

    Got twenty-six dollars in my hand…just in case I need to stop at a cafe.

    You got me again, Oli.  Which famous cyclist said this???  (and that famous cyclist better not be Oli!)

  11. Fucking fucking awesome piece, Frahnk.  One of the best.  Esp loved this bit as I had not seen it before:

    “You have three questions going through your mind:
    How far to go?
    How hard am I trying?
    Is the pace sustainable for that distance?
    If the answer is “yes”, that means you’re not trying hard enough. If it’s no, it’s too late to do anything about it. You’re looking for the answer “maybe”.

    Chris Boardman, on The Hour Record, Rouleur”

    Always racing on that “Razors Edge” of sustaining the highest effort/power that I can for the estimated time/distance required.

    When helping to coach my 15 year old son (who is now running sub-5 minute miles–yes it is so fucking cool to see your kiddos do well even if you probably have NOTHING to do with the results!!!) I have drilled and drilled this concept into his head about running on “The Razors Edge”.

    Fuck, he probably will punch in the mouth the next time I mention it to him b/c he is so sick of hearing it and then run away b/c he can sure run faster than I ever could but I think I could still kick his butt in a sparring session if I managed to catch him!

  12. @Buck Rogers

    @Oli

    Got twenty-six dollars in my hand…just in case I need to stop at a cafe.

    You got me again, Oli. Which famous cyclist said this??? (and that famous cyclist better not be Oli!)

    Bowie, and he’s dead. Didn’t know he rode a bike though…

  13. @KogaLover

    @Buck Rogers

    @Oli

    Got twenty-six dollars in my hand…just in case I need to stop at a cafe.

    You got me again, Oli. Which famous cyclist said this??? (and that famous cyclist better not be Oli!)

    Bowie, and he’s dead. Didn’t know he rode a bike though…

  14. @RobSandy

    Ooh, there’s some nice lumpy bits around the Gower.

    I was gutted I didn’t get to ride there this summer. We had a cottage out near Rhosilly beach for a week, but I had some clients in town for three days so I was only there for a couple of days and without the bike.

    @Buck Rogers

    I’m pleased to say it works the other way occasionally. At my last TT a few weeks ago, a 50 miler, I won the Veterans section (where they adjust the times for ages over 40) by 6 seconds. And I’d made a real effort in the last quarter to make sure I had nothing left so it was a nice payoff – I would have been gutted to have taken it a little easy at the end and lost by a few seconds in a 2 hour race.

    I really do see why its the Race of Truth.  You can’t blame position in the bunch, missing the break, being chased down by another team or blocked in the sprint. There are no excuses in a TT.

    I sometimes find that I try to negotiate with myself, especially in that final minute. But once the clock starts all bets are off.

  15. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    Ooh, there’s some nice lumpy bits around the Gower.

    I was gutted I didn’t get to ride there this summer. We had a cottage out near Rhosilly beach for a week, but I had some clients in town for three days so I was only there for a couple of days and without the bike.

     

    This is my mate’s Strava file from last year – https://www.strava.com/activities/386446469

    There are some whippets on the startlist, too. I just hope that when I get dropped some of my team mates are dropped too so I have company!

    Giles Hartwright from Dulwich is riding, too.

  16. Yes. Great piece, Fronk. I remember looking for this Boardman quote a while back. It speaks all kinds of wisdom. I’ve only raced a handful of TT’s – all on the same 38k rouleur’s course (Calga, NSW). Brutal for all the same sentiments expressed here. I get a little pavlovian bowel shake just thinking about it. Not kidding.

    I think the same can be said for approaching a big climb or a day on the pave. When you set out from home or roll through the approach, it’s hard to ignore the fact that you’re about to plunge into the pain cave. You want it, you don’t want it, you want it…

  17. C’mon guys.  A quote from Boardman in an article about the Hour?  A profile shot of a forlorn looking Indurain? Snippets from pre-ride conversations @frank has with @Haldy about the cables on his track bike?  This isn’t about time trials.

    This is obviously a thinly veiled icebreaker about two things:  another attempt at the Hour is on the horizon, and @frank needs a fourth and fifth question to run through his head as he turns in lap after lap.  Boardman’s three questions are terribly lacking in number.  He needs V.

    Something along the lines of:

    4. Should I have rebuilt this as a left-hand drive after I tore it down for a VLVV paint job?
    5. Which hand is the Left, anyway?

    or

    4. Why am I doing this?
    5. No, seriously, how much farther is there to go?

    You get the idea.

  18. @litvi

    C’mon guys. A quote from Boardman in an article about the Hour? A profile shot of a forlorn looking Indurain? Snippets from pre-ride conversations @frank has with @Haldy about the cables on his track bike? This isn’t about time trials.

    This is obviously a thinly veiled icebreaker about two things: another attempt at the Hour is on the horizon, and @frank needs a fourth and fifth question to run through his head as he turns in lap after lap. Boardman’s three questions are terribly lacking in number. He needs V.

    Something along the lines of:

    4. Should I have rebuilt this as a left-hand drive after I tore it down for a VLVV paint job?
    5. Which hand is the Left, anyway?

    or

    4. Why am I doing this?
    5. No, seriously, how much farther is there to go?

    You get the idea.

    Frank needs only to calculate the Coefficient of Difficulty for himself — then he’ll need his powers of abstract focus to see the number { coefficient } — which ideally is V or V.2V

  19. @Buck Rogers

    @ChrisO

    I think it’s because you just know what’s going to happen in a TT.

    A road race can unfold in a hundred different ways. A TT will be either brilliantly painful or horribly painful and not much in between… spot the common thread.

    It’s also that you have that stone cold minute when the rider in front has gone. You roll up to the line, wait for the 30 second call before clipping in and having the bike held and then the final five second countdown – all your thoughts are bouncing around in your pointy helmet.

    And at the end I hate it when you’re a few seconds away from some benchmark. In three of the five open TTs I’ve done this year I’ve been one place off a podium or prize money, and the gaps have been 3, 4 and 9 seconds. In hindsight it’s always easy to think you could have gone 5 or 10 seconds faster but it’s bloody hard to think of that on the road.

    There is one great thing about TTs which deserves a mention though – the minute man.

    I love having someone to chase. I still stick to my gameplan but it’s fun seeing whether you are catching them up and going past someone early on is quite uplifting.

    On the other hand I hate being caught.

    Really great insight and thoughts.

    I agree with loving having the rabbit out front but I, personally, live in pure mortal fear and dread of the guy coming up from behind!

    And yes, I have won the Wooden Medal more than once over the last few years and it so sucks, doubly-so if you are only a few seconds back!

    This. From 81 to 90 I must have ridden hundreds of open and club TTs. In the early years I was the one being caught, but gradually got a better number and did some catching. A good (full field) TT will have the fastest 11 guys at numbers 120, 110, 100 etc, and the next 11 fastest at 115, 105 etc. In between are the rabbits!

    The worst thing is a chatty timekeeper. You want to warm up, collecting your thoughts for the effort ahead and get your mind right. Nothing worse than a timekeeper or holder that wants to converse.

    Every TT should involve pointing your bike directly at the entrance to the pain cave. How deep you go in is up to you, but you have to go in nevertheless. I remember finishing some rides feeling lightheaded. Those were the fast ones. Happy, happy days.

  20. @universo

    Frank needs only to calculate the Coefficient of Difficulty for himself — then he’ll need his powers of abstract focus to see the number { coefficient } — which ideally is V or V.2V

    Yeah, but math is like… hard n’ shit. I was after the idea of how a phrase or two will repeat itself on loop in your mind throughout the course of a criterium or time trial.

    Or wait… does that only happen to me?

  21. @litvi

    @universo

    Frank needs only to calculate the Coefficient of Difficulty for himself — then he’ll need his powers of abstract focus to see the number { coefficient } — which ideally is V or V.2V

    Yeah, but math is like… hard n’ shit. I was after the idea of how a phrase or two will repeat itself on loop in your mind throughout the course of a criterium or time trial.

    Or wait… does that only happen to me?

    Not just you. Me too — used to berate myself by thinking “wake up!”. Frank may not like doing math while onboard — throwout the analytics.

  22. @universo

    @litvi

    @universo

    Frank needs only to calculate the Coefficient of Difficulty for himself — then he’ll need his powers of abstract focus to see the number { coefficient } — which ideally is V or V.2V

    Yeah, but math is like… hard n’ shit. I was after the idea of how a phrase or two will repeat itself on loop in your mind throughout the course of a criterium or time trial.

    Or wait… does that only happen to me?

    Not just you. Me too — used to berate myself by thinking “wake up!”. Frank may not like doing math while onboard — throwout the analytics.

    @frank may not like doing math while onboard what?  Earth?

  23. @wiscot

     

    This. From 81 to 90 I must have ridden hundreds of open and club TTs. In the early years I was the one being caught, but gradually got a better number and did some catching. A good (full field) TT will have the fastest 11 guys at numbers 120, 110, 100 etc, and the next 11 fastest at 115, 105 etc. In between are the rabbits!

    The worst thing is a chatty timekeeper. You want to warm up, collecting your thoughts for the effort ahead and get your mind right. Nothing worse than a timekeeper or holder that wants to converse.

     

    Interesting, I like that idea. In the UK they do it as in the Tours. Slowest first, fastest last.

    Some TTs on fast courses will have more applicants than spaces and they will have a PB cut off. A guy in our club with a 25 mile PB of 54 mins got knocked back for an event on the course where Alex Dowsett set the national record.

    Not come across any chatty starters yet but it would be annoying for sure. People are always chatty afterwards – TTs have good cake I generally find – but pre-race most observe respectful introverted silence.

  24. @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    This. From 81 to 90 I must have ridden hundreds of open and club TTs. In the early years I was the one being caught, but gradually got a better number and did some catching. A good (full field) TT will have the fastest 11 guys at numbers 120, 110, 100 etc, and the next 11 fastest at 115, 105 etc. In between are the rabbits!

    The worst thing is a chatty timekeeper. You want to warm up, collecting your thoughts for the effort ahead and get your mind right. Nothing worse than a timekeeper or holder that wants to converse.

    Interesting, I like that idea. In the UK they do it as in the Tours. Slowest first, fastest last.

    Some TTs on fast courses will have more applicants than spaces and they will have a PB cut off. A guy in our club with a 25 mile PB of 54 mins got knocked back for an event on the course where Alex Dowsett set the national record.

    Not come across any chatty starters yet but it would be annoying for sure. People are always chatty afterwards – TTs have good cake I generally find – but pre-race most observe respectful introverted silence.

    Yup, we did it proper. It was always a subtle sign of your standing if you got a 0 or a 5 number.

    Couldn’t get in with a PB of 54 mins? That’s crazy, but just shows you how things/times have changed. I’m not sure what the Scottish record for a 25 was in the 80s, but I doubt it was 54 minutes. Maybe 55 something – probably by Graeme Obree. Our courses were just not that fast and TT bars and disc wheels were in their prohibitively expensive infancy. My PB (on a standard steel Colnago road bike) was 57′ 40″ on a course with numerous long drags and 13 encounters with roundabouts! I think only national championship TTs filled up regularly.

    I just checked, the Scottish 25 mile record is indeed held by Obree – 48′ 43″.(1994) He holds the 10 record too with 19′ 29″ (1997) In fact, Graeme holds the 6 fastest 10 times (no-one went sub 20 minutes in Scotland until David Whitehall in 1982, if that tells you how fast/slow the courses are) and the four fastest 25 times. That both Obree’s records are now about 20 years old tells you how awesome he was.

  25. @KogaLover

    @Buck Rogers

    @Oli

    Got twenty-six dollars in my hand…just in case I need to stop at a cafe.

    You got me again, Oli. Which famous cyclist said this??? (and that famous cyclist better not be Oli!)

    Bowie, and he’s dead. Didn’t know he rode a bike though…

    Bowie? BOWIE?? It’s Lou Reed!

  26. @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    This. From 81 to 90 I must have ridden hundreds of open and club TTs. In the early years I was the one being caught, but gradually got a better number and did some catching. A good (full field) TT will have the fastest 11 guys at numbers 120, 110, 100 etc, and the next 11 fastest at 115, 105 etc. In between are the rabbits!

    The worst thing is a chatty timekeeper. You want to warm up, collecting your thoughts for the effort ahead and get your mind right. Nothing worse than a timekeeper or holder that wants to converse.

    Interesting, I like that idea. In the UK they do it as in the Tours. Slowest first, fastest last.

    Seriously? Every TT I’ve done (apart from club ones) has been with the ‘seeded’ numbering. You know the fast guys if they are a multiple of 10. Maybe one day I’ll be a multiple of 5, one day.

  27. @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    This. From 81 to 90 I must have ridden hundreds of open and club TTs. In the early years I was the one being caught, but gradually got a better number and did some catching. A good (full field) TT will have the fastest 11 guys at numbers 120, 110, 100 etc, and the next 11 fastest at 115, 105 etc. In between are the rabbits!

    The worst thing is a chatty timekeeper. You want to warm up, collecting your thoughts for the effort ahead and get your mind right. Nothing worse than a timekeeper or holder that wants to converse.

    Interesting, I like that idea. In the UK they do it as in the Tours. Slowest first, fastest last.

    Seriously? Every TT I’ve done (apart from club ones) has been with the ‘seeded’ numbering. You know the fast guys if they are a multiple of 10. Maybe one day I’ll be a multiple of 5, one day.

    I forgot to add, tradition held that the first rider off (#1) was a member of the organizing club. This was done on the understanding that he/she knew the course well and would stop and fill in for a missing turn marshall if needed. Ahhhh, the good old days.

  28. @Oli

    If ever I had twenty-six dollars in my jersey pocket, it would be 20 too many and I’d be obligated to buy a frothy coffee drink for the next cyclist who hobbled into the cafe in cleats behind me. If one needs more than VI dollars on a ride, best to sign up for Apple Pay.

    I ran rode down to the leveeBut the Devil caught me theretook my twenty dollar billAnd vanished in the air

  29. @Oli

    @KogaLover

    @Buck Rogers

    @Oli

    Got twenty-six dollars in my hand…just in case I need to stop at a cafe.

    You got me again, Oli. Which famous cyclist said this??? (and that famous cyclist better not be Oli!)

    Bowie, and he’s dead. Didn’t know he rode a bike though…

    Bowie? BOWIE?? It’s Lou Reed!

    Fucking brilliant!  Love it!

  30. Talking of coffee.  Visited a new (to me) roaster today and they are experimenting with Cold Brew Coffee.  Apparently it’s the latest hot (well cold) thing on the West Coast.  Interesting.  They had two variants, just plain cold brew and cold brew in a keg with nitrogen gas pressure.  It comes out a bit like Guinness with a head that settles out (Espresso Guinness).

    The nitrogen keg variant had a much deeper flavour than the plain cold brew and it was the same bean being used.  Knocked spots off the plain version.  Strong stuff too.  Most interesting.

  31. TT racing to me is less about “waiting for the man” and more about “seeking out the man”.  Once you find him, the goal is to ride with him until the last kilometer and then try and leave him behind.  Easier said than done.  But if you do it this way, you will have to be helped off your bike after the finish line.  If you have a crit later in the day, don’t ride with the man or you will be pulled from the crit after the first 20 minutes.  This story is true.

  32. @litvi

    What I want to know is what event is that shot of Big Mig from? The logos on his chest seem to indicate something linked to the ’92 Barcelona Olympics, but given he’s in his trade team kit that’s unlikely, and I seem to remember that being the last one without the pros.

  33. @Mikael Liddy

    I’m pretty sure that’s taken before the Luxembourg TT at the 1992 Tour de France; as one of Spain’s biggest banks, and with the ’92 Olympics being held later that year in Barcelona, Banesto was an Olympic sponsor, hence the advertising on his kit for that and the Seville Expo also.

     

     

  34. @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    This. From 81 to 90 I must have ridden hundreds of open and club TTs. In the early years I was the one being caught, but gradually got a better number and did some catching. A good (full field) TT will have the fastest 11 guys at numbers 120, 110, 100 etc, and the next 11 fastest at 115, 105 etc. In between are the rabbits!

    The worst thing is a chatty timekeeper. You want to warm up, collecting your thoughts for the effort ahead and get your mind right. Nothing worse than a timekeeper or holder that wants to converse.

    Interesting, I like that idea. In the UK they do it as in the Tours. Slowest first, fastest last.

    Seriously? Every TT I’ve done (apart from club ones) has been with the ‘seeded’ numbering. You know the fast guys if they are a multiple of 10. Maybe one day I’ll be a multiple of 5, one day.

    I forgot to add, tradition held that the first rider off (#1) was a member of the organizing club. This was done on the understanding that he/she knew the course well and would stop and fill in for a missing turn marshall if needed. Ahhhh, the good old days.

    I looked into this a bit more, wondering if maybe I just hadn’t noticed. There seem to be several camps,

    The CTT regulations do indeed suggest that top riders have 5 minutes between them but it’s pretty vague and just says ‘faster’ riders.

    However there’s been some suggestion that it can mean substantially different conditions for people who should be posting similar times so there are events which just seed slowest to fastest.

    But that leaves open the idea of riding ‘in company’ because if a rider is caught then the speed differential will not be so great. So there are also some races where people seed fast/slow in an odd/even pattern.

    This has of course been taken as a quite severe provocation on the TT forum, which seems to thrive on perpetual niggly controversy.

    Just don’t mention the 3cm rule.

  35. @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    @RobSandy

    @ChrisO

    @wiscot

    This. From 81 to 90 I must have ridden hundreds of open and club TTs. In the early years I was the one being caught, but gradually got a better number and did some catching. A good (full field) TT will have the fastest 11 guys at numbers 120, 110, 100 etc, and the next 11 fastest at 115, 105 etc. In between are the rabbits!

    The worst thing is a chatty timekeeper. You want to warm up, collecting your thoughts for the effort ahead and get your mind right. Nothing worse than a timekeeper or holder that wants to converse.

    Interesting, I like that idea. In the UK they do it as in the Tours. Slowest first, fastest last.

    Seriously? Every TT I’ve done (apart from club ones) has been with the ‘seeded’ numbering. You know the fast guys if they are a multiple of 10. Maybe one day I’ll be a multiple of 5, one day.

    I forgot to add, tradition held that the first rider off (#1) was a member of the organizing club. This was done on the understanding that he/she knew the course well and would stop and fill in for a missing turn marshall if needed. Ahhhh, the good old days.

    I looked into this a bit more, wondering if maybe I just hadn’t noticed. There seem to be several camps,

    The CTT regulations do indeed suggest that top riders have 5 minutes between them but it’s pretty vague and just says ‘faster’ riders.

    However there’s been some suggestion that it can mean substantially different conditions for people who should be posting similar times so there are events which just seed slowest to fastest.

    But that leaves open the idea of riding ‘in company’ because if a rider is caught then the speed differential will not be so great. So there are also some races where people seed fast/slow in an odd/even pattern.

    This has of course been taken as a quite severe provocation on the TT forum, which seems to thrive on perpetual niggly controversy.

    Just don’t mention the 3cm rule.

    If I remember my TT rules correctly, a caught rider should drop back immediately and not draft. Not that that stopped guys from doing it though. Often a well-directed profanity helped dissuade him and there was always the implied threat of reporting the draftee to the timekeeper. The beauty of the seeding system, if done properly, meant that the riders in the 1,2,3,4, 6,7,8,9 numbers were somewhat evenly matched. The faster guys, the 5s and 10s, should be fast enough to catch and drop the other numbers and not encounter another 5 or 10.

    Obree caught everyone, but always had the manners to shout “dig in” as he scorched past.

  36. @wiscot

    @ChrisO

    If I remember my TT rules correctly, a caught rider should drop back immediately and not draft. Not that that stopped guys from doing it though. Often a well-directed profanity helped dissuade him and there was always the implied threat of reporting the draftee to the timekeeper. The beauty of the seeding system, if done properly, meant that the riders in the 1,2,3,4, 6,7,8,9 numbers were somewhat evenly matched. The faster guys, the 5s and 10s, should be fast enough to catch and drop the other numbers and not encounter another 5 or 10.

    Obree caught everyone, but always had the manners to shout “dig in” as he scorched past.

    I remember going across a roundabout on my very first TT and catching a glimpse of a rider approaching me from behind out of the corner of my eye. I knew he was about to pass and was really conscious I shouldn’t go anywhere near his rear wheel and risk drafting; he shot past like I was stationary. I couldn’t have held his wheel if I’d have sprinted. Turned out to be one of our strong club riders on a short 21 (I think I did a mid-25 IIRC).

    Also read a delightful story about Sean Yates catching and passing a French rider in a Grand Tour TT, and the guy sitting on his wheel. He ignored the barrage of profanities but eventually got the message when Sean managed to spit in his face.

  37. Lining up for cross races is bad enough for my nerves; I think I’ll avoid TTs.

    I’m mightily chatty on group rides, but I really don’t like talking about form, power meters, etc. I’m into bikes and going fast, not data. But, I know cycling attracts former/current math nerds and the like. I’m glad your form is good, but I don’t wanna hear about it…

    Nice one, Frank!

  38. @Ron

    Lining up for cross races is bad enough for my nerves; I think I’ll avoid TTs.

     

    I like to make sure I’m almost late for the start – keeps the heart rate up and gives you a shot of adrenaline.

    There’s nothing like riding a TT – nowhere to hide, no excuses, just you and the road. There’s a reason it’s called the Race of Truth.

  39. A few shots from our end of season hill climb. I didn’t ride (the old refrain of I’m not in shape, next year) but instead acted as Angus’ soigneur. I did partake in the tea and cake afterwards.

    Warm up.

    Final rise. It’s not the hilliest hill climb, it is Cambridgeshire after all. There’s a steep rise at the start then it drops off and flattens out before the final rise. One of our members and resident testers is also quite handy with a camera.

    The good turn out from the juniors.

    Fortunately this didn’t turn up until we’d finished although it threaten to crush the cars parked on the farm track next to the start.

  40. Loving the Defender in that final photo!

     

    Oh yeah, the photos of your “lean and mean” kiddo are pretty great as well!  How did he fare?

  41. @Buck Rogers It’s drwarfed by the combine.

    Stupidly impractical and uncomfortable but a Defender could well be the replacement for the current Disco.

    Angus did OK but got beat by the other lad in his age group which annoyed him. He hadn’t ridden the course and told me afterwards he felt he could have gone much harder. His leanness is annoying – especially when he asks me questions like “have I got a six pack?”

    That first photo should have been a gif although I suspect that @frank has restricted my ability to post those after I broke the site with the infinitely recurring mini phinnies.

  42. @chris

    A few shots from our end of season hill climb. I didn’t ride (the old refrain of I’m not in shape, next year) but instead acted as Angus’ soigneur. I did partake in the tea and cake afterwards.

    Warm up.

    Final rise. It’s not the hilliest hill climb, it is Cambridgeshire after all. There’s a steep rise at the start then it drops off and flattens out before the final rise. One of our members and resident testers is also quite handy with a camera.

    The good turn out from the juniors.

    Fortunately this didn’t turn up until we’d finished although it threaten to crush the cars parked on the farm track next to the start.

    End of season? In early September? Shure shome mishtake? Mid October was when things used to end . . .

    The boy has form though to be sure.

  43. @chris

    That first photo should have been a gif although

    Thanks for clarifying, I did wonder about the “snowstorm” filter effect.

  44. @wiscot

    End of the TT season. It would be nice if it could go on longer but in this age of H & S, the finishing time is constrained by light (and we lose it earlier than you did back in the day in Scotland). Starting time is constrained by the time people can get away from work.

    Angus wanted to ride home from the event last night but he didn’t have any lights on and there are a few sections of woods where it would have been too dark.

  45. People who have actual hills still do them in October. TTs are still going – I’ve got a 25 on the 18th but they are starting to wind down.

    The Catford and Bec Hill Climbs are October 9 and I think the Nationals are a week or two after that.

  46. @ChrisO

    We are looking to move the annual hill climb to the Waitrose multistory car park. It longer, steeper, flood lit and has a huge range of cake.

    Cycling is becoming more middle class after all.

  47. @ChrisO

    The hill climbs you mention are all on Sundays when light isn’t the issue that it is on weekdays.

    Besides, we’re gentlemen and we don’t race on Sundays.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.