A female’s take on riding her first TT

I’ve often been of the mind-set that it’s healthy to try new things. Admittedly it’s usually wine or menu choices… but this year I decided that the new thing would be a time trial. The idea of cycling against the clock has always appealed to me but have been put off time trials by rumours of a weird secret society (the “dark side”) and the slightly intimidating TT dress code; skin suits, sperm hats etc. and a bike that looks like a spaceship and probably costs nearly as much. In truth, the biggest fear of entering a TT was my own insecurities and the thought of embarrassing myself. But on the other hand, I’ve never let being rubbish prevent me from doing anything in the past so I decide to take the plunge and enter the Good Friday 10m TT organised by Gt Yarmouth CC.

I was greatly encouraged by being part of Team Ride Harder and was spurred on by a great coach and awesome team mates. The first and biggest hurdle to overcome is completing the entry form. Let’s just say it was challenging. But I dug deep, got through it, and the form was sent off. No going back now!

I’ve been training hard throughout the winter and following the Ride Harder training plan almost religiously. I love the discipline it gives me and I’ve been really pleased with the gains I’ve made. But the time comes in every turbo-loving cyclist’s life when you need to step away from the pain cave and get outside in the real world. It’s time to put everything you’ve trained for into practice.

Arriving early on race day is a little nerve racking but something I’ve become used to over the years at triathlons. The usual signing on, pinning numbers and plentiful toilet trips is nothing new but with no transition there’s little to do but warm up. Not that I managed that successfully as I spent most of the warm up time looking for the start line.

When I eventually got myself to the start the nerves really started to kick in. A complete stranger grabbing me tightly round the hips and another man counting me down. All I have to do is pedal as fast as I can in one direction, go round the roundabout and pedal even harder coming back. What could possibly go wrong? Just as long as I stay upright at the start!

The race went as well as I could have hoped and was over in a flash. Not that my legs would agree with that statement. I felt I had paced myself almost perfectly as I didn’t much left at the finish. I was delighted to beat my own personal target by over a minute. It was hard, harder than expected, but I really enjoyed it. In a strange way I knew I would.

Predictably the memory of the nerves and pain quickly faded and I’m already planning my next race… maybe a 25 miler next time. Maybe. I just need to consult the legs.

I can honestly say all my fears of the exclusive elite TT society were unfounded. Everyone was helpful and friendly and the competing field was a mix of all ages and abilities. I can’t pretend I understand the handicap scoring system but right now I don’t care. I’m very happy I signed up, made it to the start line and got a time I was very pleased with. Bring on the next one. I’ve gone to the dark side.

Jenny Bettinson  – Team Ride Harder