Saturday, June 25, 2011

38 Minutes out, 39 Minutes back

I did the Nebraska Individual Time Trial Championship on a one day license today. I completed the race in about 1h17m and some change. Last year I did the race in 1h13 minutes, but this is not what it seems.

I started off fine, ramping up my speed to 19mph for the first couple of hills to find my breathing rhythm. I've ridden this course enough times to know where I can grab a drink of water without upsetting my rhythm too much and I did.

Something happened that hasn't happened before: I caught and passed someone. I had my 30 second person in my sights for much of the first quarter of the race, and he took off like a rocket down "the hill". I lost visual shortly after I made the turn towards the hill.

My 30 second guy passed my one minute guy about 2 miles back from that. I caught and passed the one minute guy on the flat section just after the final right turn. He looked like he was in agonizing pain, hands on the bar tops, sweat flowing down his face, bike wobbly under his slow cadence. I know what I must look like to seasoned racers now.

Speaking of seasoned racers, I had been passed by all manner of cat 4 and 3 racer up to this point, but only one or two had disc wheels.

Thing about disc wheels on asphalt: they sound like Imperial TIE Fighters. And when 6-8 of them pass you within a couple of minutes, you feel like you're in the Equatorial Canyon of the Death Star.

That also means the Pro/Cat1/2 racers had caught me. I don't have an X-Wing Fighter. Heck, I don't have a Millennium Falcon.

Out of all honesty: me and my bicycle make up the cyclist equivalent of a Mustang II King Cobra: a bunch of decals and tape stripes pasted to the sides of the most anemic V8 Ford ever produced. I was no match for Imperial engineering. I was blown to smithereens before I could launch my torpedos.

After the turn-around I got back up to speed and cycled through my computer. 38 minutes and some change. I wanted 35. Oh well. I could still post a respectable time if I get this whole negative split thing down. I had a slight ESE breeze pushing me along a touch faster than before the turn-around. So I upshift. I'm feeling okay. I pedal through a few more strokes and upshift again. Whoa, a bit of a jump in effort...

Instead of backing off the gear, I backed up on the saddle to get some leverage.

Yeah, dumbass move on my part. It only took a quarter of a mile of flying (and it was glorious...) for my left hamstring to smack me upside the head and tell me to stop pedaling.

The only relief I could give my left hamstring was climbing out of the saddle with my hands on the hoods. The flat portions of the race were agonizing. My left leg still hurts a bit as I type this.

I let my speed drop like a rock on the out of saddle climbs. My cadence and rhythm were toast at this point.

I told my hamstring to shut up as I made a right turn into the wind at about mile 20. I sat as far forward on the saddle as I could handle. And this is where I learn something: I should have been training for this race in that position: it was fast, smooth and relatively pain free.

When I crested the final climb, I was greeted back to the start/finish with cowbells and cheers. The race could have used more cowbell in the middle, though...

I pedaled right on through the finish line and coasted to highway 92. I took a victory lap of sorts around Yutan to cool down and pedaled back up to turn in my timing chip.

I changed out of my cycling clothes, finished my water, grabbed a bagel and awaited the results. Called my wife to tell her I was still alive, etc.

I was initially disappointed with my 1h17m and some change since I posted 1h13m in last year's Cornhusker State Games, on seemingly the same course.

Not all is lost. Last year they turned us around one "section" before NE-63/66, resulting in a 22 mile course. This year they turned us around just before the rumble strips at 63/66, giving us almost 24 miles.

That means I rode last year's course at 17.4MPH, and this year's at 18.5, with a bum leg and poor riding position. There's definitely an improvement, but not what I was hoping for.

Oh, and to the owner of the unattended white Volvo with all four doors wide open playing Girl Talk: where's the subwoofer?

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