Victorian Club Team Time Trial

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Each year there is a small flurry of activity leading up to July to organise a team for the St Kilda Club to enter the Team Time Trial. This is my 4th year in a row that I've had the pleasure of sharing the pain of the challenging course in Buninyong out toward Mt Mercer.
There is an excellent sense of camaraderie this course sets up with a lot going on. Full TT bike handing skills are required on the rolling hilly sections and there is always a ripping wind (one of the reasons why the wind farm looms at the midpoint of the course). Lots of communication is required that can be a challenge with the words lost in the wind and ears are hidden behind TT helmets.

Setting up in the SKCC Tent with the teamies
This year I was lucky to have Dale Maizels and Lisa Coutts to join me in the Masters Women’s team. We had a practice in Melbourne and SKCC had setup a few trial days to get everyone practicing turns with TT bars on bikes and getting ready for the turn around point on a skinny back road.
When the race day came around the clouds parted and the roads were dry, but there was still a cold strong wind. I was happy to have my fleecy ¾ bib shorts on! SKCC had setup in prime position and a spread of banana bread, fresh fruit and lollies to keep us fuelled and to recover with after the ride.
Warming up, pinning numbers on my jersey, nibbling last snacks. All smiles here! Photo: Amy Tan
I setup the Lemond trainer next to the ladies out of the wind and was soon sweating buckets in the warmup – but I knew those little hills on the way out would catch up with me if warmup was not optimal.
In no time at all we were on the start line and off racing! I lead the ladies out and we formed a good line to take the initial descents. It was a side tail wind out and it felt pretty good, but after 5-8kms we were losing Lisa on the descents. Being taller, a little heavier and aero on TT bikes, Dale and I were coasting away. We stayed together for a few more kms then made a choice to continue on with 2 riders, and Lisa kept the pace on in case one of us had a flat and couldn’t finish.

Serious on the start line. Very happy with my toasty clothing choice! Photo: Amy Tan

I was a little worried if we had made the right decision so early, but the deal was done and we passed a few teams from Hawthorn that motivated us and spurred us on. We were shouting hellos to the other teams on course, my favourite was to my friend Manuela Marasco who was almost late to her start (I later found out she went to the wrong TT! There was an individual TT at Balliang and she made it just in time for the start at Buninyong), her team just missed out on a podium. Such a good effort!
Rolling out. Photo: Amy Tan
On the way back we were starting to get passed by the Masters Men's teams that flew past into the relentless head wind. On one uphill section I was so glad Dale was with me as it was starting to get miserable out there. We cheered each other on and finally there was 10 kms to go. I was tiring at this point and couldn't wait to get out of the wind. In previous years when I saw the finish line there was a final buzz and extra energy to chase to the end. I could barely hang onto Dale as she surged ahead, but we set a great time and I knew that I'd given everything I could for the race. 
When we went back to the tent to cool down out of the freezing wind, I welcomed some of the banana bread and more water. It was great to have the club group around to chat to and enjoy the day as so often the Time Trial scene is pretty quiet affair.
We lined up in the hall to find out that we had won the Women's Masters TTT and set fastest female team time of the day. It was a great achievement for the hard work we had put into training for the lead up to this.

Women's Masters Podium. SKCC Gold, Hawthorn Silver, Brunswick Bronze. Photo: Amy Tan
It was also great to see so many teams formed from clubs to come and try out this in a non-threatening race situation (some beginners can find mass start road races confronting). I hope it convinces a few more to try the other races too.
Winners are grinners. Photo: Selfie

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