PERFECT riding weather today. At 8:40am it was about 65-70F, there was a slight breeze out of the south and maybe the east towards the end. I went first, then Pam L, then Kris J. There were other suspects as well, Ruth Alexander, Susan Griffin and Ellen Hart. The rest of the SW55+ group had the “Rabbit” advantage for sure.
Here’s how it played out for me today. I didn’t have to feed ponies which was EXCELLENT! Thank you, thank you, thank you Jeanne and Margaret! I got out of the house about 6:45am and arrived at the venue after a quick stop at Home Depot for some spray-on adhesive. Sometime, while dreaming, last night it occurred to me that I probably wanted to stick my number on instead of poking holes in my new time trial skin suit, a.k.a. my “whale suit”. So, “pinning” my number on was lots easier today. I didn’t get quite enough sticky stuff on the number the first time so had to have a warm-up neighbor spray a little around the leading edge so I could tack it down. I was kinda self-conscious in my whale suit. I weighed in this morning at 146, which is about as light as I have been in a loooong time, so I suppose! it could’ve been worse. 😉
I opted for the rollers as my warm-up. I felt that went well for me today. I took a nice, slow approach and included a few moderate efforts. Nothing too outlandish. Then, after a second port-a-let stop, I left the warm-up aread with about 20 minutes to go and headed for the start (some 2.5-3 miles away). I used this as part of my warm-up too. It always feels so much nicer on the road, and it is so much easier for me to hit the big watt numbers on the “real” road. So, I did a couple of short exertions on my way to the line. Turns out, everyone else was already there — so I felt I had timed that perfectly. There might’ve been a couple of minutes wait before I left the line, but not many. I was extremely nervous this morning. More so than in some of my past races (although I am ALWAYS nervous). I think it arose from two things…1) Kris Johnson was in the race ad 2) I would be riding first in the SW55+ group. The latter was a bigger issue for me as I do much better when I can see my competition on front of me. Today, I knew I’d just have to listen to my body, watch my power meter and hope it was enough to get on the podium….and, if lucky, the top step. One other factor was that I had not preridden the race course. Since I’m from the area though, I have ridden all the pieces of the route at some point. A big stretch of it overlaps the Haystack TT route , which felt VERY familiar once I was on that. Going in, I knew that the home stretch down N. 63rd street was a mass of big rollers. These are NOT my favorite landscape item and I wanted to make sure I had something left so I wouldn’t stall out on them. I really had no idea how much energy I’d need to pull that off, but I knew I’d want to go into that corner at Nelson and N. 63rd with some gas left in the tank.
So, I got a good start off the line and felt I got up to “cruising” speed pretty fast. I rode hard the entire way up Jay road (passing numerous recreational cyclists along the way). I kept the pressure on once I hit 28th St/Hwy 36 and tried to maintain as much momentum as possible until I crested at the north end of town and headed down the first hill. I allowed myself the luxury of recovering a little on the downhill so I could squirt up the incline and get to the flatter section with some speed. This carried me to the staging area of the Haystack TT and I climbed the hill to the Haystack start area. That was a rather serious climb. Again, I felt I did well on it. I used some of my “Above 210 watts” on that climb but settled back down along the next flatter stretch and started to prepare for the climb across from Lefthand Canyon. This one was a little longer than I originally thought it would be. I tackled the first half strongly and may have lost a few seconds on the second part of it. I remember feeling a little more tapped as I came off that rise and headed towards the Nelson Rd turn. One of the race volunteers was on a bike, coming at me in that intersection and it caused me to alter my approach and slow down a little. UGH! I HATE IT when stuff like that happens. I yelled out and at the last minute, he looked up and tried to get out of my way. No incident, but definitely disrupted my flow. Then, once around the corner I tried to keep the pressure on again until the top of the next hill. I got down into my super-woman position, basically flat with my butt off the back of my saddle and my chest resting on the saddle, and flew down the hill. This gave me enough recovery to charge up the far side and power my way to the next long downhill stretch. After the race, Kris told me that a couple of times she started to reel me in a little and then I’d escape on the downhills. She couldn’t figure out how I could go so fast down the hills…. I explained that the same weight that is a burden on the uphills really comes in handy on the downhills. If I’m gonna carry it along, it might as well come in handy at some point!
Anyway, I flew down Nelson to the corner and took a nice clean corner and knew that this next stretch was where it all had to come out. The uphill portions of the rollers were challenging and I tried to push over the top of each one and only allow myself to recover after I was back up to a fast pace. I think I spent the rest of my “Above 210 watts” climbing up the front side of the rollers. Mentally, I pulled my recent workouts into the front of my mind. I KNEW I could push hard for 3-5 minutes. I just didn’t know how far/long it was to the finish. I decided to go for it though. I pushed myself pretty hard along this part. When I could see the finish area I pushed even harder and did so until I crossed the finish line. I *almost* blew through the stop sign (which would have been a big “no-no” as neighborhood watch was watching) which was only a short distance past the finish…. really much too close, if you ask me. I put down a little rubber but did not have to do a full sliding stop. This is a time trial after all…
I rode back to the Spectra Logic parking lot with Kris Johnson and Pam L. as they finished around the same time I did. They are really nice gals and we all agree that we are so damned lucky to have our health and the means to be out there racing, being active and basically enjoying life!!
The results showed that Kris Johnson took first, by 30 seconds. I took second over Ellen Hart by about a minute. All in all, I was very happy with my effort – wish it had been enough to put me on the top step, but finishing second to Kris is nothing to be ashamed of. She is one very fit, very talented 61 year-old! Really gives me hope for where I might be 5 years from now!
Now we have to analyze what I did today, and in my earlier TT races/training, and figure out how I can come out on top at our next meeting – I think it will be the Championships. Yikes!
Tomorrow, I think I’m going to go up Sunshine Canyon, just to see what it looks like. I think I’ve ridden up it — but probably 15-20 years ago !!!!
My Blue Sky Velo teammate, Brian Anderson, has been tearing it up all year and did so again today. He won his category!!! Here we are with our medals. Not bad for a team that doesn’t field that many racers. Way to go, Brian!!!