Team Cycling Plus - Sam Shaw

Sam's first 5 mile time trial - how will he do?

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. This week Sam tackles his first time trial...

Team member: Sam Shaw

29 year old Sam who lives in Stirling weighed in at 20stone in 2006. But through discovery of his love of bikes he has shed over 6stone and is still losing. Beginning with tentative 5km commutes, working up to include an 18km detour with 360m climbs, and now braving sportives and time trials, Sam’s newfound obsession has changed his life. His goals are to get down to 13stone and wear lycra with pride.

This has probably been the most exciting week since I took up cycling.  It started out with a small issue with my Verenti Millook, which Wiggle quickly sorted (thanks Wiggle!) and the knowledge that my first foray into the world of time trialling would be coming later in the week.  With this in mind, I wanted to investigate what it takes to produce a good TT performance so I read up on it and learned not to start too hard and to try and get a good, consistent pace through the whole event.

Ben had given us training plans at the end of last week and although I couldn’t manage a 3 hour Sunday ride due to work commitments, I have managed to complete most of the other items on his schedule. This included doing sprints during my rides to and from work – boy they’re hard work!

The day of the TT dawned; I felt nervous but still had a day of work ahead of me.  Unfortunately, the issue with my Verenti hadn’t been resolved so I was kindly leant a friend’s Titanium cyclocross bike, complete with disc brakes, to do the TT on (thanks again Steven!).  It had a Sram Red drive-train so it wasn’t an overly unfamiliar experience riding it. The TT registration started at 6.30pm so I rode out to the starting area straight from work to get warmed up before the event and get a feel for the borrowed bike.  Everything went well on the way, I got in with another couple of guys doing the TT and we rode out together into the headwind doing about 19.5mph, taking turns on the front.  I managed to fluff an overtake when it was my turn to take the lead – a case of being a bit too eager and wanting to ‘do my bit’!

I got to the start line, registered and was given a number; it was then about half an hour until I’d be starting so I did a few warm up sprits to keep my legs ready.  Getting to the start line, I felt ready and moderately relaxed as I clipped in while being held up by the ‘pusher’.  I got the 15, then 10, then 5 second countdown and I was off!  I started in the big ring and in the middle of the cassette and sprinted up to about 28mph.  Over the next half-mile or so this evened out at about 25.5mph.  My heart rate didn’t slow much from the initial spike when setting off and I kept my legs pumping and my breathing deep, but steady. 

About a mile from the finish, the guy behind me came past, I’d expected it as he was on a full-blown TT bike and looked pretty fit, he then hit a rough patch in the road and slowed, this buoyed me up until I hit the same patch and slowed to 23.5mph!  It took a big sprint out of the saddle to get me back up to 24.5mph then the next few hundred metres to get back to 25mph.  Not long after that I saw the line and dug deep, remembering the advice I was given just beforehand to sprint to the finish.  I really pushed myself and crossed the line doing 27mph and feeling like I was going to die!

I slowed and turned back to the finish, not having any idea how I’d performed.  I asked what I’d done and got the news I’d wanted: 12minutes flat; I was ecstatic!  My thoughts immediately went to the tailwind that’d been pushing us along so I asked what the timekeeper thought my time would’ve been without that, he said about a minute to a minute and a half slower.  I’d wanted a sub-14min time so I’d have been happy even without the wind advantage.  Times ranged from 10min 8secs to 13min 03secs.

The adrenaline pumped around my body for the next hour or so, I couldn’t stop blabbing excitedly and felt really great.  Exhausted, but great.  I can’t wait for my next TT now; it’ll be at the end of May and is a 10 miler on the same course but with a turn in direction half way through.  I just hope the wind’s blowing in both directions to give me another push! 

Who are Team Cycling Plus?

Team Cycling Plus powered by Verenti are readers Andy Ward, Kay Bowen, Malcolm Ratcliffe and Sam Shaw. We’ll be following them in the magazine for the next few months as they train towards their personal cycling goals under the guidance of Team Wiggle’s Ben Simmons and we will be publishing their weekly trials and tribulations here too. For regular updates check our twitter page twitter.com/cyclingplus and the Team Cycling Plus facebook page.

Sam Shaw
Author: Sam Shaw
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