Making my “I only race this on odd years” return to time trialing…
Umm… what?! Sub 30 minutes?!
So this race kinda started out a bit hectic. On Thursday I decided to schedule a bike fit for my new-to-me 2007 Felt B2 aero bike I had purchased off Ebay a few months prior. Turns out it wasn’t the simple fit process that I thought it would be, and there would be chopping, and new parts, and many many shims to get the older technology to fit with modern day parts. Patrick at Bicycle Station tidied up my fit at 5:30pm on Friday night, and I was sent out the door for a test ride in the impending darkness around the local neighborhood. Procrastination almost got me, but they came through with a TT bike that now fit me perfectly!
Second hectic bit… I failed to correctly set my alarm on Saturday morning. Saturday is not a weekday, or so my iPhone says, and I set an alarm for 7:05am on weekdays. Luckily I received a wake up call, and I quickly threw on my skinsuit and some socks, and threw everything in my car.
Third hectic bit… the line to pick up bib numbers was insanely long… like 15-20 minutes long.
Breathe, Heidi, breathe.
So needless to say, I was on my trainer a bit later than anticipated for my warm up. I haven’t really been feeling healthy lately, and was feeling rather apathetic about the pain to come. I did about 20 minutes, with about one minute of actual true effort. But it loosened up my legs. I had enough time to braid my hair, get all aero-d up, pee, and head to the start line.
My start went good and I settled in for my half hour or so of pain. There was a slight headwind on the southbound leg, and it really caused me to lose some motivation. My chest and lungs burned. I was coughing/puking up thick mucus that got stuck everywhere (my face, skinsuit, then my hand which smeared it all over my left aero bar). To my surprise I caught several cat 4 women’s racers, which was a first, as usually I only catch the youngest of juniors. I came into the turnaround point a smidge over 14 minutes. I knew I was laying down a fast time, but wasn’t sure how that would translate going north, which is slight uphill (maybe 1% average, more rolling terrain than anything). Usually I do well on this portion since I have the knack for laying down power on false flat climbs. There didn’t seem to be a tailwind to help the efforts, in fact it felt more like a crosswind. Booooo!
About two miles out it dawned on me that I could possibly break the 30 minute mark. I was pretty unsure at how my 23 mph pace played into how fast I can ride a mile (I’m horrible at math). Coming towards the finish there’s a downhill roller, flat stretch, than an uphill roller into the finish line. I knew at a 1.5 minutes out from 30 that I just had to go for it, so I shifted and mashed down hard. I ended up doing some weird out of the saddle, but still in the aero bars power sprint (butt was maybe a few inches above the saddle). I passed another cat 4, and just put on the pain face and powered through with 32.5 seconds to spare!
Naturally, SW3 (oh, this was my first cat 3 race, yay!) is a competitive field. I finished 10th, but only seconds out of several places higher. It was nice to see how close we were all grouped. I was 1:55 out of first, which is a pretty close margin for me, as historically it was much much much bigger! I kinda whined once I saw I would’ve won the cat 4 race by 20 seconds, but hey, that’s what happens when you upgrade and play with the big girls! Just happy it wasn’t a complete blow out, and that I rode the course faster than I thought I ever could!
(Trying something new for race reports, a summary of… things)
Bike: 2007 Felt B2
Equipment: Voler aero long sleeve skinsuit, Giro pretty lace up shoes, Giro TT helmet, Handlebar Mustache “winter in the city” socks, Smith sunglasses
Fueling: 24oz of tropical buzz Tailwind Nutrition consumed about 30 minutes before start, nothing during the race.