Renee Black - ORV Time Trial

There’s a first time for everything…

Hey y’all! 2018 race season is in full swing. This year I decided to open the season with a time trial, or what folks in the cycling world call “the race of truth”. I had never attempted this before, but for several years I have had a strong desire to give it a go. Truth be told, I was scared. Scared of making a complete fool of myself. Cycling is my favorite part of triathlon and I can hold my own. However, I knew I would be racing against some pretty bad ass women. So, I took a deep breath, swallowed my pride and clicked the register button for the Oak Ridge Velo Classic Time Trial. 

As always I was met at the race site with overwhelming support. The hubs was there volunteering. Katie, Ashley, Amanda, Alex, Sharon, Melinda and Lana had all raced hard that morning in the road race and all greeted me with smiles and encouragement. Expert level sherpas JD and Shameka were there to hold and carry all the things. After taking a solid 15 minutes to pin 2 race numbers on my jersey I hopped on the trainer, put my ear buds in and settled into a 30 minute warm up. 

Those 30 minutes flew by and before I knew it Katie and I were off to the start line. 

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I kind of knew how the start procedure worked. Someone holds your saddle while you get clipped in. When it is time to go, that person lets go of your saddle and you take off. Sounds easy enough, right? The race official counts down and says, “Go!” I smash down on the pedals and nothing. He says again, “Go!” And again, I’m still sitting there not moving. Finally someone says, “Let go of your brakes!” Oh!! That’s a good idea! I let go of the brakes, take a good ten strokes out of the saddle and then settled in for my 7.6 miles of pain.

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The plan was simple. Hold back a bit on the first 2 miles which were on a slight incline, then let it rip until the finish line. One thing I am learning is that going fast takes a tremendous amount of focus. No matter how genetically gifted you are or how hard you work going fast hurts. The key for me is not letting my mind wander in an effort to ignore the pain. When my mind wanders, the focus is lost and so is the speed. Looking back, I had two key moments during the race where I lost my focus and it cost me some time. 

First, there was a steady climb on highway 95 leading onto Bear Creek Road. As the incline increased I could feel my cadence lowering and my effort increasing. Instead of dropping into a smaller gear and increasing my cadence I chose to keep mashing away in way too big of a gear. This really took some power out of my legs and cost me some speed on the gentle rollers ahead. Lastly, I totally misjudged the location of the finish line. I rode the course the Sunday before but in my oxygen deprived state I missed the mark and ended up letting off the gas before the finish.  I crossed the finish line 2nd in the cat 5 group and 5th overall in the cat 4/5 group. 

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Overall, I am super pleased with this first TT effort. Afterwards I immediately told the hubs that I wanted to do it again! Once again I cannot say thank you enough to my husband, my friends and family that give me endless encouragement! Thank you to Kevin, my Podium Sports Medicine racing team, and all our sponsors for their support. Lastly, thank you to my coach Robbie Bruce for all his guidance and those winter trainer miles!

Next up… Hammer Olympic Distance Triathlon!