Pico's Cycling - Tales of the Road is an online cycling magazine. It is intended for writers and riders who want to share their on the road cycling stories and pictures. Submissions that follow our guideline are gratefully appreciated. See the appropriate page in the site menu. Will publish the best of the best each month. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @PicosCycling.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

My First "Time Trial"

By Pico Triano
Photos: Pixabay

I am six feet five inches tall and weigh 210 pounds. I also have minor asthma. As a cyclist it should be obvious that I am not built for speed. At what point I decided I still liked cycling and was okay with being slow, I'm not sure. I don't ever remember out sprinting anyone. My older brother destroyed me every time and we only raced at his insistence. I never pushed myself to see how fast I could ride or for how long.

My first full time job was eleven miles from home on the outskirts of St. Catharines, Ontario. The commute home by bicycle took me roughly 50 minutes. Keep in mind that home was somewhere between 150 and 200 feet higher in elevation. I almost invariably had to battle a headwind as well. That time is probably not as bad as it sounds. Keep in mind that was ridden after a full day of physical labour as well. There was a day when I was going to have to do a lot better though.

I signed up for a speed reading night school class in Niagara Falls. That was twenty miles a way but not really an issue since Mr. MacKay the instructor lived across the street from my home. I got a ride from him once I'd gotten home. Of course there has to be one day when there was a scheduling conflict and I had to get home after work in thirty minutes or miss my ride. Worse no one involved thought it a very big deal. I would not call this shaving a few minutes off my ride.

I told Mr. MacKay that I would try but couldn't guarantee I would manage it. If he had to leave without me, I understood. He seemed certain I'd manage, after all I ride all the time. His best friend is Mr. Bauer father of Steve Bauer, the Steve Bauer who finished third in the Tour de France one year. Probably the greatest cyclist in Canadian history. For Steve this feat would be no big deal. For me it looked insurmountable.

At the end of the day, the work bell sounded and I was as ready as I'd ever be. Blue jeans and steel toed work boots. I hopped on “The Beast” a rebuilt Canadian Tire ten speed, which was my steed at the time and started pedalling furiously. I made a passing effort at pacing myself but pushed way harder than I thought I could sustain. The first couple of miles weren't too bad. Then I got to the Niagara Escarpment (the land form Niagara Falls falls off of). It is an easier spot and I stood on my pedals and ground my way up. I rolled and weaved through the countryside faster than I thought I could. In North Pelham there is a short downhill stretch and I tore through there grateful to be able to go faster with less effort.

I wasn't wearing a watch so as I entered the home stretch racing along my street pushing with everything I had left. Mr. MacKay was still there. My mom had a change of clothes all ready for me. I got to rest once I got settled into the car. Mr. MacKay gave me one of those, “I knew you could do it looks,” and we went to class.

That's the closest I've ever been to a real bicycle race. Maybe I'm not as velocity challenged as I tell everyone. I still don't feel a need for speed and when I ride I don't really care who passes me. I'm happy enough when I get where I'm going.

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