Sam and I raced the tandem on Sunday. A fortnight ago I'd been terrified that it was all going to go horribly wrong and we'd fall off either at the start or on a roundabout somewhere. My broken shoulder felt painful after only 20 minutes on the bike and I was panicking at every turn. After a couple more practice runs and some changes to the bike, I was starting to feel more confident. Sunday morning came but I was still full of trepidation.
Our warm-up went beautifully and the bike felt quick. We were even held up at the start and managed to push off smoothly and without incident. Everything went well until we encountered deer fighting on the course, but Sam bellowing at them seemed to settle their dispute and we sailed past.
We crossed the line in a time of 24.51, which turned out to be the fastest of the day. We'd been hoping for top 10 so we were very happy.
Half an hour later I was ready to race solo. I hadn't even contemplated how much racing twice might hurt. I'd been told that this would be excellent training, so I suppose I was approaching it with that in mind. After two pedal strokes, my legs felt full of lactic acid. The tandem had been hard on them but my lungs still felt good. It was going to be a question of getting a grip on the hurt.
And hurt, I did:
I'd just wanted to finish the race. I kept focused and rode as hard as I could. It all felt like I know a time trial should: I was pedalling at every point, I didn't lose concentration, I didn't go too hard on the way out, I caught people but I didn't let that disrupt my race. The only thing I didn't know was how much the tandem had taken out of me. It proved to be the perfect prelude; I rode myself to a win.