After the Tour of Walla Walla I was planning on taking a weekend off from racing. I had been pushing it pretty hard over the past several weeks and the old body needed a rest. I didn't ride at all during the first part of the week. I decided to use that time to take advantage of a bike fit I won at a race from Zac at CBS for my brand new TT bike. The small adjustments Zac made didn't seem like much but when I took it out for a test ride it was amazing how much better I felt on the bike. Now I just needed to put it through the ringer in a race. Well, wouldn't you know it, the Green Valley TT was on Saturday. So much for taking a week off from racing!
Mark and I loaded up his rig and headed out to race the 12 mile out and back course. It was held on the same road as the Ice Breaker TT(only longer) that we did at the beginning of the season. We arrived at the lot around 8:30 and it was beautiful out. It was by far the best day we've had since.......October? My plan was to use the first half of the race as a training ride and focus on how I felt on the bike. I had no real expectations and didn't want to focus on a high placing. I even taped over my Garmin so I could do the whole race on feel.
Alex(Farestart) just upgraded so I didn't have to worry about getting smoked by him but other guys that can really throw down in a TT like Brian and Phil from Audi, Max(HSP), Tim(Olympic) Guy(Farestart) and my teammate Mark were all there. Besides riding my new bike for only the third time ever I was testing a new Camelbak Racebak hydration vest. I didn't think I would need for a 12 mile TT but wanted to test it in a race situation to see how if functioned before using in a longer race.
Here is how the race went down. I took off, rode six miles out, turned around, rode six miles back and that was it. Talk to you next week!!
......That is basically pretty much it for a time trial. They aren't that fun to watch and talking about them can be equally as boring. But.....you know I can't just leave it at that!
It was decided that we were not going to be held at the start so we had to do the "one foot down, pray that you can get clipped in without issues start". Of course, I did have issues clipping in. It took me about three full pedal strokes before I was clipped in and powering down the road. . I got up to speed, got in my aero position and slowly ramped it up. I was feeling really good but tried to keep myself from pushing too hard. I don't want you to think that I was just soft pedalling down the road while enjoying the scenery. I just didn't push as hard as I normally would and tried to focus on NOT moving around on the bike, pushing the right gear and not worrying about anyone else on the course. Things felt really good and I was really surprised how fast the 6 mile turn around point came up. It seems like I've always has some issues with outside forces while racing on this course. Sunday was no different. It was so nice out that there were a ton of weekend warriors out on their bikes. Unfortunately, many picked the road our race was on for their ride. As I was coming up to the turn around point there were four rec cyclist on the rod in front of me. I thought they would have noticed all the aliens on strange bikes flying by them at mach speed but they seemed to have no clue. They were taking up half of the lane and were not riding in a straight line. I thought I would pass them with plenty of time to set up for the turn but it didn't pan out that way. I had to yell several times at them to get out of my way so I could pass. They finally figured it out and almost hit each other when they realized I was going to hold my line and not slow down. Except for waisting valuable O2 while yelling at them I don't think I lost too much time.
My turn around was nothing for You Tube. The plan was to really go for it on the way back. After I was back in the my aero position I quit thinking and really upped my effort. The closer I got to the finish, the harder I pushed. Once again, I was surprised by how fast(for me) the 1K marker came up. I put myself in the "hurt locker" for the 1st time and really pushed it. I saw the 200m mark and the finish tent and really gassed it. With about 300m to go a ginormous pickup truck pulled to a stop on a side road up on the right. He saw me and had plenty of time to pull out. He sped up and all was good.....for a second! I think all saw all the parked cars, bikes, people, etc. around the finish line and slowed WAY down. I motioned at him to speed up, I mean I waved my are frantically in the air. but I don't think he was focusing on what I was doing. I got with 50m of him and I completely lost site of the finish line. I wasn't sure what I was going to do if I caught up to him. Luckily he made it across the line before I did and I was able to fly though at full speed. Oh crap!!! He hit the brakes right after crossing the line and my oxygen depleted brain had to make a split decision on what to do. I slammed the brakes and swerved over the white line and onto the shoulder. Thank goodness no one was standing there. I was able to ride between the truck and everyone standing around the finish tent. Well, that made for an exiting finish!
I finished 6th, 45 seconds off the winner(Max). For distance like that I'm usually about a 1:40 back so I was really happy. Mark took 4th so it was a great day. I think keeping my adrenalin in check at the beginning helped me have a better overall race.
After the race we hooked up with teammates for a training ride in 70+ degree weather. It was nice while it lasted.
photo by Kirsten Reed