Racing tales from the great Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2013 Frostbite Time Trial

Breaking news!.......Aliens invade the farming community near Carnation, WA!

I often wonder what the locals think when a bunch of cyclist shoe horn themselves into skin suites, throw on crazy assed looking helmets, mount robo bikes with disc wheels and ride around their community without taking even a second to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Amara  Wheels in Focus really captured our "Pain Faces" while taking photos near the finish.  Any non racer standing near finish line had to take notice of these odd facial expressions.  They'd think someone slipped lacitives into our drinks before the race.  Add the drewel, spit and snot that is flying from rider's faces and they'd have to wonder why the hell anyone would willingly put themselves through this, especially on a drizzly, 40 dregree Saturday morning.  Come to think of it, what the hell am I doing out here? 

I've still never really loved racing time trials.  They've always been something I had to endure during a stage race.  Every year I tell myself that I'm going put in some quality training hours on my TT bike but I never do.  I always end up dragging it out of the garage the night before the first time trial  hoping to get it race ready by morning.

After the cross season ended I kept saying this was going to be the year but at the start of 2013 my wife noticed it hadn't even moved from from where it was last stashed after my last stage race.  She might have said something like, "Will you just take that thing out so I don't have to listen to you complain about it after the season starts!"  I'm not sure but after making a handfull of worthless excuses I finally got motivated to pull it from the rafters.  February 23rd really snuck up on me but I did manage to do WAY more TT specific training than in previous years. (one day would have been more)  I even went out and rode the Carnation course a couple of weeks ago!  Well, let's the start of the Washington (and Northern Idaho) race season begin.

I was still NOT psyched for this race but I was totally amped that the road racing season was getting under way.  It wasn't that great of a day and I think I was looking for excuses for not doing the race but soon enough I found myself on the road to Carnation.  My start time wasn't until 9:31AM but we had sign in and grab our race numbers by 7:45AM. This gave me plenty of time to warm up.

I've never done this before but I noticed that I could setup my trainer and actually warm up in the RV.  I cranked the heat and tunes and got in a good 45 minutes.  I got ready and and with 5 minutes to my start time I made my way to the staging area.  I was half way there when I heard "Last call for rider 184, Sean Phillips......LAST CALL!!"  WTF!!  I looked down at my Garmin and it still showed that I had almost two minutes until my start.  I realized that I never check my Garmin's time against the official start clock.  I guess I started assumimg that someone would sync the clock up with a smart phone or a GPS enabled bike computer to get the accurate time but.....I sprinted to the start tent and rolled in after my 30 second guy had already taken off.  As I fumbled to get clipped in I don't remember hearing anything else from the officials except that there had been reports of Cows and ducks on the course.  If that message was barked out before the start of the Ballard Crit I would have been alarmed but not in Carnation.

The course was u-shaped, 20K (12.6  miles) that started just East of town on Hwy 203.  It continued East for 5.5 miles.  At that point you took a right via a round-a-bout followed by another quick right through the town of Fall city.  After just over a mile you take a right onto the farm road that is nicely paved and  hopefully free of motorized vehicles......and cows......and ducks!  From there you have about six miles until the finish.

3,2,1....and I was off.  Before I new it I had hit 32 mph.  Because I'd ridden the course I new the only  hill (if you want to call it that) was right after the start.  I decided to slow up and hit the hill doing a comfortable pace and then I'd start to slowly ramp up as it dropped back down.  I caught my 30 second guy less that 2 minutes into the race.  If I've learned anything it's that I never dwell on either passing someone or getting passed (it does feel nice to fly by someone) and to just focus on what I'm doing.  I caught my minute man about minute later.  I was still doing 30 mph.  "Was I pushing too hard during this first segment?  I eased off just a bit and kept set into nice steady pace.  Just as I was really getting into a groove I had the only scary moment on the course.  Some jackass in a ginormous diesel pickup decided to gun his engine just as he came up behind me.  That was startling enough but he then proceeded to come as close to me as he could and then floor it again just as he passed to blow out a nice little blast of diesel smoke.  He was probably doing close to 65mph as he went by.  That scared the shiz out of me.  I heard him do it again as he approached the rider in front of me. DICK!!

I made my way through the the round-a-bout in Fall City and was happy to get off hwy 203.  As soon as I made the right onto the farm road I ramped up my effort and was feeling pretty good.  I think during all the turns on this road I only got out of my aero position once.   I was getting motivated as I kept picking off riders that started 3 and 4 minutes in front of me.

I'd put on some Rain-X before the start to help minimize rain and fog build up on my visor and with about 4 miles to go all was still good.  That was about to change.  A few minutes later my visor finally started to fog up. Since this stretch of road is mostly free of potholes and traffic I didn't really worry about it.  I could see what was right in front of me and that was good enough.

With about 3K to go I was really starting to feel the burn.  I eased up just a little (not sure if it was by choice).  I wanted to make sure I could really finish with nothing left.  Soon enough, I mean FINALLY, the 1K marker showed itself.  I geared up and really pushed it.  HOLY SHIT!!  Nothing was happening!  I didn't accelerate like I wanted to.  I wasn't slowing down, just not going faster.  I dropped a gear and kept pushing.  It was the longest F'ing 1K ever.  I finally hit the 200 meter mark and gave it everything I had.  I crossed the line and pretty much couldn't make another pedal stroke.  Thank God it was downhill after the finish

After a minute or so I finally started to recover, a little.  A few guys that I'd passed came up to tell me "Good Job" as we all rolled back to the start.   I finally looked down and saw 27:07.  I felt I had a good ride but you never know.  I quickly found my teammate Alex who had started about five minutes before me.  I usually gage how I did by his time.  Usually if I'm within 40 seconds of him on a 9 mile course I'm happy as hell.  He didn't know his time but when I told him mine he thought it was pretty good. I'm usually happy with a top ten finish but I was actually hoping I could squeak in a top five out of this one.    While I made it back to the registration area  they were getting ready to do the Pro/1/2 and the Cat 3 awards.  I soon found out that my old teammates and friends Jeff Reed had won the Cat three race and Sarah Carrol had won the Women's Pro/1/2 race.  Hell Yeah!!  I was super happy for both of them.  Justin Van Wyck(HSP) won the Pro/1/2 race by just 1 second over Colin Gibson(KR).  I think Justin set a new course record with a time of 26:13. If my Garmin was correct and I only finished 54 seconds behind Justin I would be super stoked.  I went back to the RV to change and put all my gear away. 

Mens Cat 3 / Mens Masters 35+ / Womens Pro/1/2 winners!!
When I returned they still hadn't posted the Masters 35+ results  so I just spent time catching up with those I hadn't seen over the Winter.  Pretty soon I heard that they were posting our results.  Three categories were being posted and everyone quickly packed in to see how they fared.  It was hard to see from my vantage point.  I was able to pick out our sheet and just started scanning the sheet from the bottom.(that's what I do for TT results)  I kept going up and didn't see my name.  I finally got to Alex who finished third and was wonder WTF was going on.  I went back down to the bottom page and just as I started working my way back up someone came over and congratulated me?  What!  I looked back at the results and sure enough my name was at the top!!
Frostbite TT results
I still didn't really believe so I pushed my way through the crowd to get a closer look.  Holy Shit!  This was totally unexpected.    I didn't even know what to think.  I had won by 23 seconds over Chad Clarke (Fanatic) and had the 8th fastest time overall!  Not bad for an old guy!  I'm not sure if it was a fluke or if my training actually was paying off.  It might have been just of those days when everything came together.  It might not ever happen again but right now I don't really care.  I am still not a huge fan of Time Trials but this definitely makes them suck less. 
Race on Strava

Shout out to Neal Goldberg FootWorks Cycles and crew for putting on a great race.  Let the season begin!!

images by Kirsten Reed

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