A lone wolf in a band of Coyotes

I've been a bit quiet on the Chronicles front. To summarise the last couple of months, it's fair to say my training has been building reasonably nicely. I'm up to 110k long rides on the bike, I've been putting in 3k swim sets (admittedly not regularly enough) and my ankle is finally up to double digits running.

On the other hand, I haven't done any specific training so on Friday morning as I was getting ready for what I expected might be a bit of a test, I was doubting my decision to front up to a one hour time trial with KKBs old training group, the Coyotes.

If nothing else, it would be a good look at how my training is really going, after all in the "race against the clock" there's nowhere to hide.

The Coyotes have always struck me as a serious bunch - focused, accomplished, and all in all, a serious crowd. They do mammoth sessions at speeds that I marvel at. They race Ironman at paces that I could never imagine holding for an Olympic distance.

I'm a BOTPer that prefers training alone. You could say, a lone wolf.

On time trial day I had very modest expectations of how I'd go time trialling, except for knowing I'd be the backmarker of the group. I wondered how that would be perceived amongst this group. Nowhere to hide, remember...

My main comfort was that my friends Shane and Katharine had also turned up. Katharine is generally stronger than me on the bike but we often ride together. As we warmed up at the Nundah Criterium Track where the time trial was to be held, my fears resurfaced when she told me that last time she did this session with the Coyotes she'd been lapped by the first guys on her second lap. Shit!

We gathered at the start and I asked Charlesy how this all worked.

"I tell you to go, you ride for an hour and then I'll tell you to stop."

Good. Nice and simple. I like that. And with that, we started.

And almost two laps down, I got passed for the first time. I was so thankful that Katharine had shared her experience with me or I would have been mortified!

I looked down at my Garmin, which I'd set to show:
  • time elapsed (for obvious reasons)
  • average speed (because my overall goal was to be consistent)
  • cadence (but my cadence sensor didn't work).

My average speed was 29.1, which surprised me a bit. And then panicked me a bit. I wouldn't be able to hold this and if I was to put my finger on a goal for this session, it would be to be consistent!

Oh well, I was feeling good at this point so I'd just have to see how this panned out.

20 minutes later, my average had built up to 29.3. Katharine sailed past me like I was standing still. That wasn't meant to happen. She must be having a good day!

By the 35 minute mark, my average had dropped, first to 29.2, then 29.1. I had two choices:
  • cruise on and see what happened (of course, it would probably have continued to drop)
  • take some sort of action (but what?)

Even without a cadence reading, I knew my pedal strokes had been consistent and smooth. Before I knew what I was doing, I clicked down into a harder gear and resolved to keep that consistent cadence. I used my old favourite tactic - I told myself that I only needed to stay in the harder gear for ten minutes, and after that, well...

Before long my average was back up. At the end of the ten minutes, I didn't change gears, and I'm pleased to say I didn't change it for the rest of the session. And I was really excited with the end result - I maintained my 29.3k/hr average for the hour.

So I'm satisfied with this little test, against the clock. No need to hide, not even for a lone wolf.

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