You could tell by the fact that the race sold out during pre-registration that everyone was ready to race. The weather was as good as it gets for the end of February. There were 19 of us crowded under our tents warming up and it was a great feeling. My start time wasn't until almost 10:30 but because of the large numbers we had to be there early to secure a place for tents and check in. I had plenty of time to hang out with my racing buddies.
I was really nervous about this race. I have to tell you, I have no problem flying through a 90 degree corner 300 meters from the finish of a race, knocking elbows with 30 of my closest friends. I think I'm a pretty good tactician and like that part of racing. For some reason time trials mess with my head. Maybe its because I've never really devoted a lot of time to training for them and that my TT setup has always been clip on bars and an aero helmet. I did them in stage races and omniums because I had to and always just hoped to finish somewhere in the middle of the pack and move on to the road race. I was content until I just missed the podium by a couple of points last year at Enumclaw. What to do. This fall I purchased a Guru Crono TT bike and new big deep dish carbon wheels. I now had the equipment and my only excuse would be my engine. I'm not scientific like some guys but I did put time in on the bike at least once a week over the winter and really tried to work on my aero positioning. I still have some tweaking to do. I have that "Lance Hump" when in the aero position so maybe that is a plus?????
When it comes to the actual race I always worry that I'm going out too hard out of the box or that I didn't leave it all out there by the time I crossed the finish. I've had a hard time regulating my effort because instead of racing my race I want to catch those rabbits out in front of me and not get passed by anyone else. Anyway...
We have a TT guru on our team and she was willing to share her expertise with us during our last team meeting. I took it all in and think it really helped. I rolled to the start and got clipped in. 5,4,3,2,1 GO -just over 9 miles and I can relax for the rest of the day. I had a great start and was up to speed and in the aero position fast. I caught my 30 second guy in a minute and my one minute guy about a minute later. At that point I made my first look down at my Garmin. Whoops, "press start now!" My heart rate and cadence were where I wanted, but I had to wonder if I was going too hard too early. There was a slight head wind and maybe a very little uphill going out and I wanted to work hard going out. I passed a lot of racers but because we were randomly assigned start times it didn't necessarily mean I was doing well. I kept my head up and never looked down or back. I made sure to stay in my aero position. My only bad spot was at the turnaround. I caught a racer there and yelled that I was coming around on the right. Of course, he moved right and I had to take evasive action and cut the corner tight. I know this slowed me down but it wasn't too bad. I headed back with a tail wind and the good feeling that I was half way home. I went a little harder and my speed went up. I was still catching a lot of racers. Because I stated my computer late I wasn't exactly sure how far I had left. The legs and lungs were in pain but I kept telling myself it would only last a few more minutes. I finally saw the 1K mark and I was feeling the pain. I tried to increase my power a little but not enough to kill me. At the 200m mark I shifted down and gave abosulutely everything that was left in the tank. There's the orange line....DONE!! I felt I had left it all out there. I finished with a time of 20:30, one second out of the top 5 in the CAT 3 field. I had the 23rd overall fastest time out of 280 that raced. Ian McKissick posted the fastest time with an 18:18.....Smoking!!! It was my best TT ever. I was extremely happy. I still really don't know what I'm doing but feel a lot more relaxed. Hopefully it wasn't a fluke. The rest of the team also performed really well. I think we are off to a spectacular season. Bring it!!