I was drooling after I put those front wheels on, every time I walked pass my bike, I paused and just stared at those big white capital ZIPP words... Boy do they look fast.
- Saddle bag removed
- Front 404 Zipps!
- Down tube bottle cage shifted to seat tube, replacing a slightly heavier one
- Lights removed
However, when I pumped the tires up, at night they were flat... It was a slow leak... I was so worried that it kept me up on the night before... Contemplating whether swap those 88mms back... After much deliberation I decided to pump'em tires up, sleep and see if they hold up decently. At least enough to ride home.
Alas! The next morning, I couldn't drag myself out of bed early... Rushed here and there, tires held up! One last pump up before setting off... Wait... Better pump it up and leave at the last min...
What a bad decision! I reached the venue at like 820am, dropped off my phone and keys, and ended up quite literally at the very back of all riders... I knew this race was a goner, should have really really excused my way to the front... Ahhhhhh...............
But just infront of me, was the guy... Yeow Chun Tan (IIRC, to be referred to as "Aeroguy") on a aero time trial bike, aero helmet, zipps and a skin suit too! Maybe if I just draft him, we will catch the lead pack! Alright that's the plan, you sneaky bastard...
Gun time! Bang! hmm... Shoes not tight.. *adjust velcro* *check tire pressure* *reset cyclometer* *clip right leg in* And still I have not moved off... Come on guys! Start riding! That's the problem with coming late and starting at the back...
Alright! We are moving! With the excitement and adrenaline I started spooling up the wheels, the Aeroguy wasn't speeding up as much as I hoped so I overtook him.... Faster and faster, I saw my speedo stabalise at about 42km/h... So many people to pass... Luckily most were keeping left...
I knew I couldn't maintain 42 for the race... The fatigue started to come in, and I slowed to 38km/h knowing the first pack was gone.
Than BAM, Aeroguy comes along! YES! Draft that ass! 40km/h constant... Nice... But probably not enough to catch the first pack... I surge to his right and ask,
"Do you want to take turns?"
"No, it's okay, you can go ahead" I'm not sure if he said I can go ahead, or that I can draft him... HAHA but I couldn't maintain 40 for nuts, so I drafted. My face was dripping sweat like crazy, not sure if it was the aerohelmet's lack of ventilation or the 40km/h pace that I was not used to. It was hard, even just drafting! And drinking water from a bottle in your seat tube is damn difficult! Big mistake on my part!
So for the first 2 laps I was on his rear wheel feeling like a cheater, he started slowing down to 38 and I went right thinking it was my turn to pull, holding at 40... 40... ahhh dropping to 38, than he pulls again at 40.... It kept going till lap 4...
Final lap! When I glanced back, a huge group of blue jerseys were drafting the two of us! I THOUGHT I WAS THE CHEATER, THOSE BUNCH OF GUYS! At least I helped pull when Aeroguy dropped in speed. I was letting my thoughts distract me, as I got sick of pulling the bunch of cheaters and dropped left.
Only one guy from the blue jersey pack pulled and me and Aeroguy took a break (Actually I didn't know where he was when blue pack leader pulled as he was behind.. Slowing down to 38 now... Just before the U-turn of the final lap, blue pack leader said "go!" as I surged ahead to 40 hoping to break the pack before the u-turn and make them work to sprint out of the u-turn.
As I accelerated out of the U-turn, Aeroguy comes along and I get on his rear wheel again, 38... than 36... Oops, it was my turn... 38... 40... Than I realised isn't this a time trial? It was like my worst fears, it was a road race with time trial bikes... If that's the case... I gotta save my legs for the final sprint... I know I couldn't do a Cancellera and time trial into the distance! I was half dead!
I dropped left... Aeroguys comes along... 38.... 37... 36... my turn... 38... 37. 36... drop left, blue pack leader finally pulls again... 38... 37... 36... I'm not going to pull any longer, I gonna wack that sprint! I look down at the speedo to see 37.77 km... Not long now... 38km... And a guy on road bike sprints off! It's too early! No ones goes after him! Dual Tri-spoke guys comes and takes the lead, I go after his wheel! 40+ now as the speed climbs higher in anticipation, the guy on road bike gets caught... I head left and over take dual tri-spoke... blue pack leader surges infront of me!
I want to head left to surge, but traffic ahead!
Aeroguy comes pass me on the right, a huge train behind him!
I can't get on Aeroguy's rear wheel! Shit!
Traffic on the lefts clears! Surge left!
Traffic in the MIDDLE of the road! SHIT! PLEASE RIDE STRAIGHT!
Phew! Pass the traffic omg! Traffic everywhere!
Aeroguy, guns it! and hugs the right edge of road! No one can match his burst! And what strategy to go right so no one can use his draft!
Blue pack leader leader got dropped, new bunch of fresh cheaters come along.
NO WAY AM I GONNA LET A BUNCH OF CHEATER DRAFTERS ( actually I also drafted a lot, hahaha) WIN ME!
AHHH MY LEGS!!! DEAD!!!
Tuck into aero position GIVE IT MY EVERYTHING!
48km/h just before I hit the finishing line... Second to Aeroguy.
As we rolled to a stop, the feelings was great. I congratulated Aeroguy, and thanked him for the insane pull... Head comes blue jersey team as they shake my hand, and congratulate me like I won 2nd overall (we were the second pack)... It was nice. haha. I knew we weren't the first pack, so 2nd to Aeroguy was still a good feeling. And the shaking of hands of every rider coming in... Quite priceless! Knowing we had put in a hard effort, and enjoyed the ride.
I just saw the results today, 12th place... I started off 1 min behind the race leaders, and ended up just 2 mins behind them on timing... Damn! If Aeroguy and me had tried harder, maybe we could have caught up?
Anyway, important lessons:
- Reach early and get a good position on start grid, if not try to squeeze in front no matter what!
- Bottle on downtube, even though slightly worse aerodynamics, no point if you can't reach it properly!