The latest post from Ambassador Mathew on his journey from coach-potato to IRONMAN!

On Sunday 8/2//2016 I competed in my first ever 10 mile Time Trial. It was a learning experience for sure. I have done other races before, but the difference is that they were longer races and involved pacing. This Time Trial was (supposed to be) an all out effort where I was planning to completely empty the tank in that short span. This was not how things ended up at all.

From the start I was unnerved. The person holding my bike at the starting line was very unsteady and I was scared I was going to fall over. Once I started out  I felt good. I was staying aero keeping my feet moving and focused. Just like I had trained. There was a downhill 90 degree right turn that everyone was scared of. I made it through well and managed to carry some speed. Once through that turn I looked to check my heart rate and realized I had not started my Garmin. So, much like the astronauts on Apollo 13, I thought “that was my glitch.” WRONG! I started up a slight incline and decided to take a look behind me. I saw a guy back a bit, no real threat at that time, but could tell he was gaining. I panicked…I changed from the big chainring to the small under load, going up hill. I know and probably everyone else who has ever ridden a bike knows that this is going to have 1 result. I dropped the chain. As I move to the side of the road and get off to put my chain on, the guy behind me…yeah he passed me. One would think that I learned from this and raced the rest of the race as I had practiced. Again, you would be wrong. Instead of making my way up the hill and using the downhill to make up my time I decided it was a god idea to push too hard of a gear and sprint up the hill. As I felt a sharp sudden pain in my leg I realized this was not a good strategy. So I had to back off a bit and let the pain ease off. While I was recovering, the guy that was behind the guy behind me passed me.

So I slogged out the rest of the race and finished with a VERY disappointing time of 35:21. This is versus a goal of 30 minutes or less.

My longsuffering did not end there though. In the pre-race email they had said not to turn around and go back down the same road to the start, but to loop around. Well the guy at the finish line pointed me to the right. Unfortunately, this was the wrong way. This route led me up a road named “Mountain Rd.”  I am no Hill climber anyway, much less after hurting my leg and doing a race. So as I am aimlessly riding around Cumming GA, I realize something was wrong. I back tracked, back up the mountain, to the finish line and decided it was best for me just to head straight back up the road to the parking lot.

I have thought about this and stressed about it for 2 days now wondering why I forgot everything that I knew and reverted back to a cycling infant, but the only thing I can come up with is that sometimes shit just happens. There will be other races and I will move forward from this. As far as learning experiences go, this will go down as one of the best I could ever have.