Updated: Feb 22, 2019
The recent Tour of Britain included a Team Time Trial that looked fantastic. A five man team pushing themselves to go as collectively fast as possible. I had a brilliant idea (sic) we should do one of these at Lanterne Rouge, but with a twist. Instead of allowing people to pick their own teams, we should draw the teams out of the hat having first established a seeding process using previous times over a well used segment from club rides. It seems that there was a lot of enthusiasm for the idea and 40 riders signed up. We split them into 4 pots of 10 riders and drew them out of the hat in the style of the Champions League draw. Club Committee member Mark Tiff and I did the draw on Facebook Live having convinced ourselves we are a hilarious double act. The fact that only about 30 people were watching live should not detract from the fact that we enjoyed ourselves. Note, that no alcohol was involved in us presenting this 'show' live from my kitchen. Unless you count the watching audience, who no doubt turned to drink after 2 minutes of watching us.
As we had 4 people in each time, with all times to count, once people had thought about it, they would realise that the challenge was clearly going to be getting the slowest rider around. All four riders had to cross the line to get a qualifying time, so there was no point in smashing up rider 4.
On the morning of the challenge, we had people drop out through injury, oversleeping and two mechanicals, resulting in some rejigging of the teams. Because I had been ill with a virus of some sort I was only acting as starter and timekeeper for the day, having not eaten in two days and never moving more than three metres from the bathroom. Each team did a warm-up lap and then a fast lap over a 16km course with a mixture of flats and hills. As Team 3 rode up to the line one of them broke a chain and we had a 30 second debate about me joining them. What followed was 26 minutes of torture as I struggled to hang on to the back of my three team mates, who could clearly have gone much faster if they weren't held back by dead weight. So my apologies to Trevor, Matty and Paul for ruining their Sunday.
And my apologies to the people in Norton Lyndsey whose weekend I ruined by throwing up in the garden after I finished.
The Team Challenge is a great idea though and we will definitely repeat it in 2019.