by Ken Huizenga
This Three Bears Time Trial was the fourth TT I have participated in. I love them because they make me aware of how much I can push myself without the humiliating feeling of being dropped in a stage race. A man against his will and the clock seems to be as pure as it gets in Cycling. Race day started like many others with an early alarm clock, and the need to get that killer bowl of oatmeal ready and at least one cup of coffee. This day was especially cool because it was my first event as a member of IC3. Upon arrival, the first person I see is Gary. He has set up our team area with everything we could possibly need and offers up some more well needed coffee. I chose to do the 30K event. My thinking was that if I was to leave town to race then I should work a little harder than normal. The 20K riders, Jimmy, Gary, Robert and Laura all slowly left after warming up on the trainers. My ride was 45 minutes later. I was now left alone to warm up and ponder why I chose this harder effort and question myself as to if I even belonged here on this day. This thought process is one I go through many race day’s. It may seem negative, but it is also motivation. I must push myself mentally to “earn” my place at these events. I rolled up to the line thinking two things. Keep my effort consistent the first 15K as close to my FTP as possible and keep my heart rate under 176.
As I reached the 5K mark, all I could think about was the headwind. Both my confidence and my training told me I should be putting up power numbers at least 240 but I was already falling short. I pressed on and started to reach a rhythm on the pedals both my mind and body seemed to tolerate. At about 13K we had a left turn to head to the half way point. If I thought I had been heading into the headwind the past 20 min I was wrong. The left turn now put me straight into its grip. This is the place in the race I thought I might make up a bit of time but it required an even harder effort. Kyle told me after the race that this was the stretch I should of jumped on it hard to make up time…lol
After the half way turn, the wind was a tail/cross that made the last half a lot more fun. I was looking at power numbers near my FTP and seeing speeds at 24mph. My goal of a 21mph avg seemed within reach. I pushed as hard as my lungs let me but they were my weakness today. I stopped pedaling 50yds from the finish line and knew I gave it all I had for this day. I looked down to see a 20.5mph average. I was so disappointed!
Robert had walked over to the finish line to greet me which was nice, I know I should of warmed down but had nothing left to push the pedals. I rolled back to the team tent glad that the guys stuck around to wait for me. We all shared a few thoughts about the race and then headed back to Tucson.
I will still question if I belong racing at my age. I have raced in some form my whole life. from BMX as a kid to Stock cars in my 30’s and now the road bike. I just have to push it.
I think I do belong out here. I think so is because it challenges me to be better. I am setting personal best’s every race. As long as this continues, I will see you out there.
To my IC3 guy’s…Love you all and thanks for your encouragement and support.
by Jimmy Davis
I’ve been looking forward to the Time-Trials presented here in Tucson, Arizona mainly because they are very challenging races. A time trial is really a race against yourself. There is a set distance usually 20, 30 or 40 kilometers on a fairly flat course. There are climbing TT’s and downhill TT’s but the majority of these races have a profile that is pretty flat.
Time trials have been called the real test of a riders fitness and power. One reason for this is that you are not allowed to draft (except in a team time trial). Drafting is when you ride behind another cyclist in order to “hide from the wind.” Drafting behind just one rider can give you an aerodynamic advantage and save you 27% or more energy; in a time trial this is not allowed. Each person has to fight through the elements and bust through the atmosphere on their own. Another reason it is so grueling is that you are trying to put out your max effort over a distance. In order to do this you have to learn certain things about yourself like how much power can you sustain within a certain time or over a given distance (depending on the TT). This kind of sustained effort causes your legs, your lungs, your heart and your mind to scream for relief.
Enter Into the Struggle
The mental game really steps up the assault in a time trial. There is no one inside the helmet but you. At some point the self-talk begins to rage an internal war…you against yourself. There is a part of you speaking life, “Come on you can do it, you are well able to achieve your functional threshold power” and another part of your speaking death, “You should stop now and everything will be alright.” The one that wins is the one you believe…yet you don’t doubt either voice; neither is really lying to you. So the question becomes, “How do I choose when I’m in the valley of decision?” Here’s one option, you have to decide that you are willing to suffer in order to accomplish your desire. There is an interesting verse that says, “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross.” What? One of the principles I see in this verse is this; oftentimes there is a place of joy on the other side of suffering, however, the only way to obtain it is you have to be willing to endure…or press through the struggle. Yet here’s the problem, we don’t like the struggle; we would rather skip the struggle. Jesus endured the cross because He could see that beyond the cross there was a place of joy in which He would bring many sons unto repentance. There was a teacher who use to say, “Enter into the struggle.” That’s really the key, we have to embrace the struggle!
Over the last two TT’s that I’ve done I have taken 4th and 2nd in my category (Cat 5). I have yet to ride at an intensity that I’m capable of. I know that I have to increase the intensity of my pursuit, but these things (races) are temporal. So, even though I really want to win a race I also want to win that inner battle, I want to endure the pain, press beyond the moment and embrace the joy that is set on the other side of this struggle called life and grab a hold of my destiny...that is eternity!