Clipped in, waiting for the starter, I was on the ramp for the start of Tour de Phuket. Ahead of me lay 5.7 kilometres of road, a test of sorts, the opening Individual Time Trial (ITT) Prologue. How would my legs fare against this field of riders? Full of guys I’ve fought hard to stick with in training.
After checking into the stunning facilities of Thanyapura Sports Resort, the place we a hive of energy as bikes were built, luggage unpacked, and riders set out to recce the course. I had taken off my clip-on bars for the previous day’s riding, so my onsite work was only minor compared to the full builds happening around me.
Peter and I headed out before lunch with Jerome of the Joyriders, and after a few navigational challenges we found ourselves on the stretch of road that would be the day’s course. It was just hours before the start, but there were was no visual evidence of a bike race. Lucky we had the Strava segment to follow.
We managed a steady out and back effort to familiarize ourselves with the course, but we couldn’t be certain on the exact start or finish locations. Armed with a little confidence, we headed back to the resort to sample the amazing food.
Keen to hit the start ‘hot’ we headed out to the course roughly and hour beforehand, throwing in some efforts to get the legs in the zone. I paired the warm-up with Metallica’s Symphony & Metallica album, which boost the heart pumping energy of Metallica with the inspiring melody of the symphony. Perfect ITT warm-up music.
It was my first time riding off a ramp, and if I’m being honest, I was a little nervous.
The time keeper counted me down from five, and it begun, I was away. I knew the start was a descent, so I aimed to to build speed and keep the momentum through the kilometres.
Coming down the hill, my power read over 500 watts. Dam, was I going to too hard? But I pressed on. The course is fast, reasonably flat and full of the usual Thai distractions. But I came with a checklist, a simple way to ensure I was staying on efficient and on the power. I was watching just two numbers; my ten second power and the distance.
Mid course there is a small rise, I remembered it being bigger, but it past and I was feeling strong with just over two kilometres to go. A time trial is an interesting race, granted I have only limited experience in the discipline, but a constant dialogue was happening in my head. A battle to find the maximum from my body, without blowing up. You talk to yourself the entire race. The secret is making sure the dialogue remains motivating, as it could easily turn destructive.
As I powered over a small rise, I could see the finish line just 300 metres ahead of me and I put the hammer down. Aiming to extract every watts out of my legs, which surprisingly had a little left in the tank.
My Garmin told me I had done 7 minutes, 24 seconds. But what did that mean? Was it good, bad? Where would I be in the field?
The challenge with amateur racing is we don’t get the immediate feedback that the pros get. Instead we are left guessing.
I hung around to watch the faster guys head off, in awe of their composure and speed.
I wasn’t until after I’d showered and cleaned the bike that I learnt my time had me in eighth place in category two. I hadn’t come here with an expectation, so I was over the moon happy with eighth. My time was even competitive amongst the category one guys.
Tour de Phuket – Stage 1 ITT Prologue
Distance – 5.7 kilometres
Time – 7:23.9
Average Speed – 46 km/h
Average Power – 299 watts
NP – 308 watts
Super happy with the start to the tour. Tomorrow is the big one.