The Race of Truth (Andrew)

A time trial is known as ‘the race of truth’ as it’s just you, your bike, a start line and a finish line. There may be others racing but you’re not racing them. You’re racing yourself. How fast can you go?

Yet, at the end, when the racings done, organisers  read out the results and award a prize to the fastest rider. That’s not a ‘race of truth’, that’s a ‘race of fibs’. You’re not racing yourself at all, you’re racing that man and that man and that woman and that guy on a mountain bike and carrying a backpack who overtook you even though he started five minutes behind you.

I like time trials. I like the challenge of trying to catch up with those in front and the boost that you get when someone behind you overtakes and you try and keep up. It’s the very opposite of the race of truth because in no sense am I actually competing against myself. If I was, I wouldn’t be trying so hard.

Last night was the first time trial organised by Glasgow Tri Club. It’s not competitive, which I like, and it features a wide variety of people and abilities. We race on a 10 mile course on the A77, which, despite being a A-road, is mostly traffic free as it runs parallel to a newer motorway, the M77. It’s a good route, slightly uphill on the way out and, obviously, slightly downhill on the way back. It’s also fairly exposed with good views of Eaglesham moor and Renfrewshire. If you’re lucky, with the wind behind you, you can easily hit 25 – 30mph. We were unlucky last night…

According to BBC weather the wind was close to 20 mph and the last five miles would see us ride straight into it. You might think: “that must mean you got a boost on the way out then?”. You might think that, but it didn’t feel like it. Instead a swirling wind meant it was always at the side or in front, never behind. It was like cycling with a parachute open behind.

Even worse, I was riding my TT bike and riding on deep rim wheels. The wind would keep catching them and try and push me over. Not only did I have a parachute open behind me, my bike was a bucking bronco.

It was fun.

I finished in 34 minutes, which, given the conditions, I was happy with. Only one rider last night managed to go faster than 30 minutes, not that I was checking, or racing against him, this is ‘race of truth’ after all…