Despite an ice storm that week, and continuing frigid weather, Atlanta's annual Tundra Time Trial went off without a hitch this year. I ride it every year as a benchmark with my riding buddies to gauge where we are in relation to last year at this time.
Like many recreational riders, I seldom do a time trial. It's just not my preferred type of riding. But I mention the Tundra because it holds a few lessons that are worth sharing and can be applied to any ride.
Sometimes You Need a Push
There were plenty of no shows whose cabin fever was not enough for them to brave the 28-degree (-2.2 C) temperatures and the 15-mph wind at the start. Not exactly ideal conditions, but the TT must go on!
Considering the winter that much of the U.S. and Canada suffered through, I don't blame the riders who decided to stay in bed instead of get up early, drive from over an hour outside of Atlanta, gear up in the car and then "warm up" on a trainer outside in temperatures way beyond our Southern comfort zone.
To be honest, if I hadn't been riding with three of my buddies, I may have slept through the event myself. But there are times when we all need the push of a friend to get over the psychological hurdle that sometimes compels us to not try that "stretch" event, not ride on a particularly cold winter day, or not tear ourselves away from that home project that can be done later.
Sometimes you need to be the "pusher." Sometimes you need a push.
Pack Your Gear the Night Before
You're not a normal cyclist if you've never forgotten something you meant to bring along on a ride. This is why it's especially important to choose your gear carefully and pack it the night before. Doing so will prevent you from scrambling on the morning of the event. Instead, you can give yourself plenty of time to eat an appropriate breakfast, drink a cup of coffee, start sipping on a bottle of water or sports drink and get the bikes and gear loaded without issue.
No matter how many events I do, I still get a little nervous beforehand. Running around in a tizzy looking for your trainer-specific skewer when you're trying to get out the door does you no good. By getting your gear together and having your bike prepped ahead of time allows you to focus on your ride, which will ease the nerves.
Adjust your Dress Specifically for the Conditions
This tip isn't as obvious as it might sound. The Tundra is a short TT, only 8.3 miles (13.4 km). Since my buddies and I arrange to start one after another, staggered 30 seconds apart, and because we are all fairly equal riders, we could safely assume we would all finish in around 22 to 24 minutes.