by Lauren Wissman

So, thanks to my sponsor Sarah Rice Inc. and my awesomely reckless + badass teammates, I’ve had the opportunity to scare myself shitless multiple times this season (without knowing it at the time). The ABR TTT was no exception.

I don’t want to say I’m grateful for Sarah’s hand injury, because that sounds (and is) mean, but having the opportunity to ride with Daphne Karagianis, Stacy Appelwick, and KMesh was a huge deal to me; easily the highlight of my season. Sarah had talked to me about subbing in for her when I picked up Wallace last week; which I thought was loco (Sarah Rice does not have subs). Then she started name dropping the rest of the team…you’d be nervous too. Anyway, I saw Kristen at the track the Thursday before and she asked if I wanted in. So that’s that, on for a 40-70km TTT on Sunday.

Daphne texted me Saturday, “I’ll get you at 5:30a so we can make Kristen’s by 6:15! Get some rest and eat some pasta tonight!” Naturally, if you read my ToAD race report, you know that I way over-prepare ;) My itinerary: German fest Friday night, 6:30a Sat. departure for Patriot CX, Women’s 4s race w/ mud pit, sand v-ball court, swirly-whirlies (ask Lindsey), barriers, hop-a-logs, you name it, a legitimate hand-up session which may have been more tiring than the actual race, a Taco-Bell Mexican pizza for dinner (yes, I chose this night out of the past 7 years to eat taco-bell), got back around 8ish, got to Sarah’s around 9 to pick up Billy the TT ride, got him ready to go, went for a test-ride (always test ride a bike that feels unusual to you at night on a street with multiple and frequent bus routes), went home, killed 2 hours for no reason, went to bed ~1am. Pasta and sleep…2 for 2;)

Sunday: all went as planned getting to Kankakee. I met Stacy and Chris, our fourth team member (national champion on the track) and coach for the day, who were extremely helpful and friendly. We talked about how to pull and for how long, echeloning, starting out easy to save for the cross-eyed sprint at the end, rotating pulls through corners, what order to tackle the hill, what order to start in, etc. I didn’t know what kind of time-trialist I was and neither did they. The uncertainty was what made me nervous.

We suited up and went for a warm-up. List of things I borrowed for the day:
1. Full TT bike (Ridley Cheetah w/ Psimet tubulars)
2. Aero helmet
3. Garner jersey (Kristen + Stacy’s track team)
4. Sarah’s Sidi shoes
5. Sarah’s road Pedals
6. Sarah’s confidence

Really, the only things I was wearing that were mine were my socks (extra cushy since the shoes were a little big), sports bra, shorts with a built in pocket, and contacts. If Sarah and I had been the same prescription, I would have borrowed her Oakley’s too.

I was glad for our warm-up because I got some of the pre-ache out my legs. We basically were going the speed we were planning to go during the race, which I was happy to learn upon returning to the start. It also gave me some much-needed practice on aero bars, which I still felt fidgety on. I was as prepared as I could be, so when we all rolled up to the start, the ‘just flippin’ do it’ mentality kicked in and the relaxation followed. The race tactics and advice I’d received came easily with a clear head. All I had to focus on was making solid pulls and enjoying the ride. I don’t remember much of the race except getting to go fast…and the little off-roading adventure I had on the first and only corner I pulled in. Fact: you don’t have the best turn radius on aero bars, which I realized while tearing through the gravel shoulder of the road into some nice homeowner’s front lawn. I played it off like it was on purpose and swung back onto the road to finish my pull. Glad to have some cross under my belt:)

Bottom line: most fun ride to date.

We took a spin after and then came back to hear the results. We were just over an hour (1:01:58) for around 26 miles I think. Kristen wanted under 60 min so we’ll just have to try again next year; if Sarah is busy on her fat bike I might have a spot;) I’m confident we could shave off a few minutes.

If riding with fast ladies in Lycra and sperm helmets doesn’t make you feel empowered then I don’t know what would. I’m honored to have gotten the chance to ride with such strong, awesome, encouraging women. Thanks Kristen and Sarah for lighting the TT fire.