I’d be toying with the idea of joining the local velo club after enjoying the winter sportives they organise. I’ve found them quite useful experience of group riding, so thought it would help improve my bike handling and technical skills by signing up and doing a few more of their events over the season. I spoke with the President of the club in the week who suggested I come along to their first event of the season.

So that’s how I found myself at the start line of a 5 mile time trial this morning at 8:19am with the number 49 pinned to my lower back. Carefully balancing against the starting cone, trying my hardest not to fall over.

Although it was only a short ride, with mostly juniors and veterans, as a complete novice I felt quite obvious as the only one on a normal road bike without aero bars. Never mind, as my first ever attempt at a ‘race of truth’, it was bound to be a PB (if I finished!). I’d had a look at the standard times of the club’s website and was hopeful of bettering the bronze time of 13:34, but really just didn’t want to make an arse of myself.

The course was down the coast from Perelle to just past Fort Grey and back, which meant I’d be battling the stiff Southeasterly breeze most of the way out, but have the advantage of a tailwind after the turn for home. I’d looked at the forecast beforehand, and worked out that if I managed to hold 20mph for the outward leg, it should leave me with a good chance of making up time by flogging myself for the wind assisted return. Unfortunately, I was concentrating so hard at not falling over at the start that I forgot to start the timer on my bike computer so didn’t have my clock running, only my current speed, so it was a nervous wait until the results were announced.

As it happened, I’d clocked 13:09 – a 22.8mph average – and came home 14th fastest. OK, I was the slowest senior out there, but I was quicker than I’d hoped/feared and didn’t feel like I’d embarrassed myself.

I think the competitive side of me means I’ll probably sign up so I’m eligible to score points in the various competitions, although which division I compete in remains to be seen. Now all I need to do is talk the Mrs into letting me buy a time trial bike!