Monday, June 27, 2011

Got the bug – Time trialing

I was nervous for the time trial for a number of reasons.

It was the first time I did a TT that was not part of a stage race. Thus, the racers showing up at church creek were all known time-trialists. Everyone looked like they know what they are doing. I did not.

It was the first time I would be riding in this cramped time trial position (on my road bike) with a helmet I borrowed an hour before the race.

Also, it was the second time I was using aerobars, so crosswinds and navigating around potholes made me uneasy. I had so many questions….How much should I warm up for a 40k? Is there a race strategy? How can I keep myself entertained? I was nervous.

I chose to use the 5miles from the parking lot to the starting line as warm up and gave myself ample time – 40min – which I badly needed 2 miles into the transfer to the start line because, lucky me, I got a flat.

While considering what to do, another rider came towards me. He stopped and happened to have a tube but no air. He gave me the tube and kept riding. Ok, I was a step closer. Then a truck pulled up and a lady asked me if I need a ride. Oh my god, how lucky I was! She drove me to the starting line. Once there, I found someone who not only had air but actually changed the tube for me.

I still had another 15 minutes to warm up. I did a pseudo warm-up riding up and down the road and waited for my call.

I started as the third girl out of four in our category. Behind me was Kathleen Giles, time trial specialist, who won Jeff Cup and got top 20 in the TT at Nature Valley. I knew she would be hard to beat.

My race started fast and after settling into a good pace, I had my eyes open for my 30sec girl. I was able to pass her within the first seven miles. Shortly after that I was able to pass the minute girl. My goal was now not to get passed by them. No one was ahead of me anymore, so I got bored.

However, the Cat 1/2 men started passing me, sometimes with a pace that made me think I was standing still. Respect!! Soon enough, shortly before the mid-point, Kathleen Giles flew by and seemed totally relaxed. I was fighting with all the cross- and headwinds and was highly concentrated on keeping my bike straight. Otherwise, there was not much going on and finally there were only 3 miles to go.

I realized that there was a chance I could ride under one hour so I rode harder and harder until I was maxed out. I saw the 1k sign and then the 500m and finally the finish line but I knew I was cutting it really close to being able to get under an hour. I missed it by 19 seconds.

But those 19 seconds got me addicted to time-trialing. It’s just such a great workout...
You against the time, nothing else matters.

One might think the simplicity of this type of bike racing would transfer to the amount of excuses one might have for losing. Either you are faster than everyone else or not. That simple!

But shockingly, the reverse effect takes place in the realm of time-trialing. After extensive research, I am able to pinpoint my loss of every second lost to the winner…we are talking about 1:49min:

1. No full disc wheel: 29 sec
2. No shoe covers: 30 sec
3. No TT bike: 17 sec
4. Tire pressure off by at least 2 psi: 13 sec
5. Mouth open: 20 seconds

As the numbers clearly reveal, I could have won the race!
In any case, I am looking forward to another time trial!

Huge thanks to:
Anonymous guy who gave me the tube
Resident lady who gave me a ride to the starting line
Bob from NCVC for changing my flat
Josh as well as Mike, Matt, and Elliott from Cyclelife for helping to get my bike ready for the time trial

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