And so begins my series of reports on one of the greatest/craziest weekends of my life...
Men's D Team Time Trial
My first cycling race went off at 10:22 on the plains of Illinois just outside U of I. Skyler Lynn, Matt Miller and I were sent off 3 min after OSU team onto the 9 mile course. So on a bright sunny spring morning without any fanfare and an idle crowd of about a dozen people I rolled out into the barren spring farmland of Illinois and started my cycling career.
And so I became another anonymous rider trying to work his way up from the bottom.
The course was flat and “L” shaped with a ~15 mph wind. Aside from the other teams and the occasional volunteer there was almost nothing to look at. Just us and the road.
My team road together well, we never open up any gaps and everyone was pulling at the same pace. When we hit the turn around Miller cried out “OSU’s up there – let’s get ‘em!” I could hardly see them but I was ready to gun for them. We cut down to 10-15 second pulls and started the chase.
Dropping back between pulls we would yell encouragement and bark orders “HOLD IT” “THEIR GETTING CLOSER” “STAY ON” . I was coughing a little bit but I ignored it and kept pushing forward.
And slowly the dots grew into smudges and the smudges took shape and as we turned the last corner into the wind we could read OSU on their uniform. We had already made up almost all of their 3 minute advantage but we wanted to pass them.
Skyler said he was fading and would lead us out since the time is taken at the 2nd man’s wheel. He mashed the pedals until he just couldn’t hold it and pulled off launching Miller and I into our sprint.
The last mile is more or less a blur. I remember passing OSU and doing most of the leading on our finish before finally rolling across the line.
When I finished I coasted for a bit and them pulled off to the side of the road to start 5 minutes of terrible spastic coughing and hacking. I could hardly stand and had to lean my head over a railing on a small bridge. Snot was running down my lip, my mouth was dry and I was heaving in as much air and I could between attacks of coughing. Again and again I coughed until my face was purple and hot and there was neither air nor phlegm in my lungs and I would just gag.
Eventually, I stood up and said hey to Arjun who had come over to watch me from U of I.
"How was it"
"Easier than I expected"
Despite my pitiful state after the race I remember thinking I had a lot left. The TTT is an odd race. It requires a perfect combination of riders in order for every rider to be able to give his best effort.
All in all my teammates and I rode hard and ended up placing 3rd out of 4 teams in the D division scoring XXX points towards our run on the conference title. I couldn’t have been prouder to be able to contribute.
And so I earned my first cycling medal.