Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CBTT Report

In terms of exciting, time-wasting commentary, race reports are always way better when written right away. In terms of really getting to the important details and letting people move on to the rest of the blogosphere, maybe waiting a week is best. In any case, here's the almost week old recap of last week's Charlie Baker Time Trial.

I think I've only done one official "race of truth" ever and that was the Mount A TT a few years back. Even though it is a TT, it almost doesn't count because it's such a bizarre course that it takes a bike racing specialty (TT'ing) and makes it more of a specialty skill. In any case, my limited experience coupled with the fact that my only direct knowledge of the CBTT course was from a 5 minute phone call with a guy who does it all the time meant that I was going into this a little blind. I was there really early to avoid getting my hear rate up just sitting in traffic so I signed in early and got the #3 start spot. I buzzed up the road to check out the last stretch of the course, but it was probably only the last mile or so and then I retreated back to my trainer. I got a decent warmup in and then scurried off to the start, getting there just as they sent the #1 rider off and as the #4 rider was saying "I'm 4th, I don't know where this other guy is". I'll call that perfect timing :)

First out were Mike and Kathy Rowell on their tandem so there was no chance in hell of seeing them again until the parking lot and second up was a guy on his regular road bike like me. Behind me were 17 other people, many of whom looked like they had at least spent the money, if not done the training, to be taking this seriously. I took a deep breath to get my heart rate down to 123 (I seriously cannot relax right before the start of a race) and I was off. I quickly got up to speed and ramped my HR up to 170 which ended up being my average for the whole thing. My goal was to "cruise the flats" at 350-375W and go a little harder on the uphills and a little easier on the downhills. Unfortunately, there's effectively no flats on the course so it instead became an exercise in trying to average my efforts on that range while having the power numbers swinging wildly to either side of it.

My 30 second guy never really got too far out of sight and I think I caught and passed him 7 or 8 minutes in. He later told me "I saw you coming and saw you going and that was about it." I got to the first turn at the rotary (course is sort of triangular with just 3 right turns) and didn't feel too awful, but I did slow way down going through there because I didn't know the traffic pattern and we had gotten several warnings about yielding to traffic. The next stretch on the top of the course was mentally tough because 1) it was way further to the next turn than I pictured from the map, 2) a car squeezed way right due to a car turning left and I had to come to a near stop to squeeze by, and 3) I was 15 minutes into a 25 minute effort. Once I made the turn onto the road back to the finish I knew there were "just two hills" and I was there so it was time to hurt. By now I was amazed that nobody had passed me and was listening for the sound of deep dish wheels buzzing towards me, but they never came. With what I figured was about 5 minutes to go it was good motivation to not get caught so I was burying myself as much as I could. I lost more speed than I wanted on the couple little climbs and may have gone a little too hard early, but I did manage to hold it together for the most part.

I made the final turn and sprinted up the last kicker to the line thinking I saw my clock tick over 25:00 just after the line. They had me in an "official" time of 25:00 so one of us was off a tiny bit... whatever, it's a training race and I still "beat" Rooter by 11 seconds :) Average power was 351W, but it was swinging all over the place thanks to the course profile and me not knowing what I was doing. Just like Colin said in his race report, averaging 351W to go under 23.5mph tells me that I'm a giant parachute, but I sort of knew that. I won't be running out and dumping money into a TT bike, but may at least try a set of clip on aero bars to see what happens. I might make another go of it this week if the rain holds off and the spasm in my back goes away.

Phew... imagine if I had written this last Wednesday night...

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