Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Monday, August 2, 2010

Washington State Individual Time Trial Championships

I am not someone you would call a "Time Trial Specialist" but I definitely made some huge improvements since last year and have had a handful of top 10 results this year. I think a lot of racers that don't dominate them choose to only race them during stage races when they have to. That was me. This year I forced myself to do pretty much all of them in hopes of getting a better grip on this torture fest. I still don't really know what I'm doing and I'm never confident going into them. Although I now have a dedicated TT bike with deep dish front/disc rear, skin suite, aero helmet, etc., I still don't put a lot of time into tt training and haven't really paid attention to training numbers or my position on the bike. There are also some really strong CAT 3 tt guys out there including the three Alex's, two Adam's, Rainer, Phil, Mark M., Jeff D., Brian and Mike from Cucina, Karl C, Max C., I could go on. I know I'm missing a few names but you get the picture. I am just a mere mortal compared to them and just hope to not loose too much time when they are in the house.
I have never done a TT longer than 9 miles, except for the team tt. This one was a 40K(about 24.5 miles) out and back on mostly flat, nicely paved roads, some rolling hills and four good corners. I didn't pre-ride the course so I didn't really know what to expect. My wife was getting sick of me debating on whether I was going to race or not. I rode RAMROD really hard on Thursday and my legs were pretty toasted. I did my best to recover and really, I wasn't going to miss out since I was doing well in the BARR and it was our team's race. Anyway.....

It was pretty fogged in and chilly when I left the house but as I rolled into Tenino the sun was was starting to poke through and it was warming up. It was actually perfect for racing. After riding Saturday I didn't feel like I had full power in my legs. Since this was by far my longest tt I went through a ton of scenarios on how I would approach the race. I decided I was going to go out at a nice, steady pace for the first 15 minutes no matter what and have enough to really power up after that. This could really add seconds to my time but I was going to try to stick to it. I rolled out at 10:50, 30 seconds behind Steve Z. from Garage. He is another guy that can through down a good tt. Rainer was right behind me and I knew he would fly by me pretty early. After powering up I settled into the aero position and was doing closed to 27mph. I was feeling good and was no where near threshold. The first corner came up faster than I expected and according to my teammates who were positioned there as volunteers I didn't make the grade. I came in hot, had to grab my brakes hard, and probably looked like I'd been drinking before the start. It slowed me down a lot and right after that Rainer came flying by. After he had a small gap I was able to match his pace for quite a while. We were closing in on Steve and after Rainer passed Steve I was starting to work harder than I wanted and eased back into a pace just under threshold. Rainer started to disappear down the road. Who was going to pass me next? I thought I'd pass Steve right away but he started to settle into a nice groove and we were basically going the same speed. I was content. I hit the 6 mile mark and started to ramp up a little. I realized that I could have been going harder all along but I still had 18 miles to go and I didn't let that get to me. I was feeling pretty good at this point and just stuck to my plan. As we came up to the turn around I passed a guy but wasn't sure if he was in our field. As I prepared for the turn I looked up and saw my teammate Mark on the side of the road. WTF!! He yelled that he had flatted. Apparently he was having a good run so that really sucked. My turn around wasn't great but not too bad. I got back up to speed and settled back into my tuck. I started to close in on Steve and my minute guy. We were coming up on some rollers and I wanted to stay in my tuck for them. I was able to get over them easily and gained on the two every tme we hit one. I finally passed my minute man and with 6 miles to go started to really ramp up and focused on Steve. He was still setting a good pace(for me at least) and I didn't want to burn too many matches yet. I finally passed him with about 4 miles to go and then started to really ramp up. Did I wait too long to do this? The last two miles were hard and with 1K to go I tried to take it up another notch but didn't have the power in my legs to ride the 11. I dropped one gear and waited until the 200m mark and then dropped back into the 11. I jumped out of the saddle and powered to the end. As I rolled through I realized that I probably left some out on the course and realized I should have gone out a little harder but there was nothing I could do now. Hopefully I didn't loose too much time on the big hitters. After Rainer, no one else passed me so hopefully that was a good sign??? Alex T. won with at time of 55:16:9 and I came in at 57:26:9, 2:10:00 down and finished in 7th place. I know I could have done better but I'm sure many could have. I placed high enough to move into 3rd place in the BARR so I'll take that and move on. I think Erik and our team did a great job putting on the race and Vern took 2nd in the Master's C field!! It was a great learning experience for me and I had a great time.

1 comment:

  1. Sean, not sure if it's true, but I've heard that Guru maybe slowing you down: