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!