Time to mark my first race on pavement off the list of To Do items! Today I competed in the Frostbite Time Trial in northern Colorado – a ~11.5 mile long out and back rolling hills windy time trial. First race of the season, first race on pavement, first nerves of the year, first race for my team, first time wearing a team kit, first race on the Shiv, first time wearing a TT helmet, first time road riding without gloves… the list goes on and on! Lots of firsts!
I went into this race with a lot of hesitancy and nerves. A few posts back I talked about my lack of training and general slowness and dislike of road riding. A week ago Matt and I rode the course, and I struggled to get it down in 40 minutes. It was so discouraging. I suddenly wondered if I should change my goal from “make the top 10” to “finish DFL.”
Matt and I arrived at the site around 8:10am. Matt was scheduled to race at 10:06 and me at 11:31. So plenty early, but I like being early. We picked up our numbers and hung out until our teammates arrived with the Spradley Barr trailer.
After some chatting Matt and Kirk jumped on the trainers to begin their warm up. I fiddled around feeding Matt bananas and water and wondered how my aching knee would handle the race.
Soon I was pinning on Matt’s number and sending him off to the start. Definitely had some fun with spray adhesive and the number… oh the random tips you can find on Google! I hustled up to the start with my camera, forgetting how far away it was, as I usually ride it by bike. I barely made it time, as Matt was already lined up and ready to go. I hung out and took photos for about 30 minutes, and then hustled back to the trailer so I could get ready, barely missing Matt’s finish (which led to me missing out on getting good photos of him… sigh).
I slapped some KT Pro Tape on my right knee, pulled on my knee warmers, tossed on my shoes, and piled myself onto the trainer. For the record, this is the first time I have ever warmed up for a race. For my mountain bike races last summer my warm up consisted of riding across the parking lot to the hut to sign in, and riding back to my car. Maybe a 1/4 mile of “effort.” So I didn’t know what to do, except I knew I didn’t want to stress out my knee too much. I pedaled off and on for about 23 minutes and munched on a PB&J and banana and drank a bottle of water with Hammer Fizz (the bad thing to starting late… breakfast was out of my system and I was hungry!). The pee started to come on like crazy, and I actually had to take a bathroom break on the trainer. I finally gave up on the trainer and started just nervously wandering around. My teammate Shareen was awesome enough to let me borrow her TT helmet. One final pee break (seriously, what was with all the peeing?!), and Shareen fixed up my hair and adjusted the helmet for me. Then off I went to the starting line!
I was first up to go in my class, SW4. Much to my dismay there was no one to hold me at the start, so I would have to worry about getting my left foot clipped in after I started. I kept telling myself to not go too hard at the start, as I would have 11.5 tough miles ahead of me in the wind. Before I knew it the official was counting down and I went at GO!
I quickly settled down onto the aero bars (even got clipped in rather quickly-ish), made a\m/ and stuck my tongue out at Matt and his friend, and got on my way. Time trials usually don’t have a lot to discuss, but lest I forget the WIND. This event is known for the horrible wind! Now, mind you, I live in Wyoming, I know about wind and bikes, but it’s a whole ‘nother animal on aero bars. There was a terrible side wind, and since the race is held on a frontage road of I-25, the semi trucks would leave a wind wake that would swish me around. One time I grabbed the cowhorns in panic, but soon figured out how to hang on tight and just go with it. The out portion of the course goes downhill, so I reminded myself to not go too crazy. I looked at my Garmin and saw I was cruising at a pleasant 23mph which I was pleased with, so I quickly turned to singing “1994” by Jason Aldean in my head (seriously, the most annoying country song out there at the moment, yet so catchy!) and remembering to keep my cadence up.
Two girls in my class that started several racers back whizzed by me, yet I remained unfazed. I came up to the turn around, and cautiously took it and then hammered back up to speed. I enjoyed about a mile of a tailwind until the wind swirled into a vicious side/head wind the zapped my energy. I tried to power up the hills and recover when I could. Soon I was getting passed by stupidly fast male racers. I still concentrated on even breathing and my cadence. I knew coming back in my time and speed was nothing like going out, but I was still ahead of my personal best time. I randomly picked out girls in my class that I did NOT want passing me, and used this for motivation on the long steady climb back. I had a scare about a mile from the finish when a huge gust of wind caught me and images of myself tumbling down the road at 22mph came into my head. A quick break from the aero position saved the day, and I settled back down.
I was soon on the last climb and headed towards the finish. I could see it! I found every last ounce to pound down on the pedals and push as hard as I could. Another girl slipped by me near the finish, and I used this as motivation to put my head down and sprint for it. And then it was all done!
36 minutes 28.428 seconds
Yay, new personal record! That right there made my day, knowing that I could ride the course in under 40 minutes. I rode the race with an average heart rate of 185, which is just crazy. I tried to get it down, but couldn’t, even on descents (thank you crazy wind).
I rode back to the trailer, clumsily got off my bike and sat down before my rubbery legs got the best of me. I was pooped, and I’m not even sure I was forming proper sentences. I dug out my chocolate milk (and spilt some while shoving an ice pack under my knee warmer), choked it down – ugh, milk just isn’t appetizing after an effort like this! Matt wandered back from taking photos and we just hung out chatting up our teammates. Finally we realized they were posting results, and wandered over to take a look.
Much to Matt’s utter surprise, he placed 9th out of 28 racers in his category! This was also his first race ever, so big accomplishment! I am so proud of him, but then again, I’ve known for a long time that he is a rockstar on his bikes! His time was over 5 minutes faster than mine, also not surprising. Great race debut for him 🙂
I then found the sheet with my category’s results. I also finished 9th, out of 15 racers. I met my top 10 goal! Woo hoo! Not dead last, either! Not too shabby for my road debut, even with all my road slowness and semi-hate of it! I had to laugh though… the top finisher in my category laid down a time that rivaled the pro men. Yeahhhhhhhhh. LOL. She was 3 minutes over the 2nd place finished. What a beast!
So I am quite fired up for the race season now! And I’m definitely buying a TT helmet because they’re pretty sweet 😉 My next TT is not until Memorial Day at the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, so I have a ways to wait. Next up on the schedule is Rumble at 18 Road in Fruita, CO, which is a mountain bike race. I might try to fit in a weekend or two with some other races, pending my work schedule.
I definitely want to get a BIG THANKS to my wonderful team – Spradley Barr Wind Chill Cycling! The trailer is a blessing, and I really enjoyed meeting and chatting up all my fellow teammates. There’s nothing like getting congrats and high fives after a race! Another big thanks for team sponsor The Bicycle Station who I got my Shiv from, and Wendy from fitting me and being my cycling goddess guru that she is! And thanks to my right knee, though causing me pain, it kept it to a minimum so I could make it to the finish!