Dunlap Time Trial: Race Report

Steve convinced me to do a bike TT yesterday. My goal originally was to do the 27K in 45′, but then it turned out that Steve did it in 40′ last year, because evidently it is windy and slow, so my new goal was to do it in under 50′. Steve started 11:30 after me — people start every 30″ — so my real goal was to make it to the finish line before him.

Short summary: I killed it for 30′. Then, I didn’t kill it for 15′, which I only realized after I picked it back up for the last three minutes and thought ‘hmm, I should have done that the whole time.’

Long summary: I killed it for 30′. I even made it down the ramp without any incidents. This is significantly harder than it sounds. See, this could have happened:

And, evidently, expectations were so low, since I was freaking out beforehand and tipping over, that even the referee cheered for me when I didn’t fall off the ramp. Off to a great start!

I then sang Rihanna over and over and over in my head. Just this:

Cheers to the freakin’ weekend
I’ll drink to that, yeah, yeah
Oh, let the Jameson sink in
I’ll drink that, yeah, yeah
Don’t let the bastards get you down
Right a wrong with another round (or something something)
Everybody in the bar lift your glasses up
And I’ll drink to that, yeah, yeah

Over. And over. And over.

It’s a good rhythm to ride to and it’s sufficiently angry to get you moving. Try it. I pushed it hard and passed a girl every five minutes or so. There’s not much to judge by in a time trial, if you don’t have a computer, other than how many people you pass and how many pass you. I passed six or seven.

The only problem was the Women’s Pro/1/2 field started after me. (Since I’ve only ever garnered maybe one cycling upgrade point, if I do a race then I’m in the lowest category, 4s.) Then, after the Women’s Pro/1/2, the Men’s Pro/1/2 started, with Steve towards the end of that field. I was just waiting to get passed by all them. Around 30′ in, as we headed straight back into a headwind, the first pro woman went by me. Then, another. Then, one of the three women in my field who started behind me passed me. That can’t be good. I had been feeling like I was moving fast, but when they went by me I realized I was not.

Pushing into the wind was demoralizing and slow. It was a strength game and I have no strength. Aerobically, I felt ok, but I couldn’t push a big gear. I was going nowhere. I had no idea how much was left and watched the entire women’s pro field go by me.

Then, around 41′ in, the first pro man passed me too. And another and another. I kept looking for the finish up ahead, but saw nothing except a line of fast-looking people who had just passed me. I figured Steve had to be right behind me. And, then, I passed a tiny sign that said “1K To Go.” Maybe I can make it before he does!

I started pushing hard again and realized that I must not have been pushing hard before that, because it started hurting again. The last 1K took forever in the wind. I crossed the line and turned around and there was Steve right behind me. 48:40 (or so) and barely made it before him, even with my 11:30′ lead.

Since it’s a bike race, I have no idea how I actually placed. Results aren’t posted online yet. I figure I ended up somewhere between 2nd and 5th in the lowest category — and somewhere way further down overall. But, I didn’t stay to get my free beer if I did podium. Unfortunately.

Have you ever done a bike race?

Preparing for a Bike TT This Weekend

Steve convinced me to do a bike time trial race this weekend. Since I haven’t ridden my time trial bike since I rode it for 28′ at the Tiburon Triathlon last July, I thought yesterday was a good day for practice.

The benefit of not having ridden it since last July was that it still has the carbon brake pads in for carbon race wheels, because I never took them off. Since I didn’t feel like changing the brake pads to ride outside, when I would just have to change them back before the race on Saturday, I decided to ride the trainer indoors. You don’t need to brake on the trainer! But, then, when I was trying to put the wheels in the bike and spinning the back wheel, the only way to stop it was to set the wheel down on the ground. So, then, it made a tire mark on our wood floor. So, then, I tried to scrub off the tire mark with a wet paper towel. And, then, that somehow also scrubbed off some of the wood varnish. So, now, we have a much lighter spot on the floor in the middle of the living room — because that was obviously easier than just changing the brake pads.

For my super hard workout I figured I would try to hold my hour race pace for a whopping 1′ or 2′. It was hard.

I’m not sure if I succeeded in holding that pace because it turns out my bike also doesn’t have a PowerTap on it right now either (a PowerTap is a type of power meter, which tells you via a computer how much wattage or effort you’re exerting on your bike), so I was going just by feel and tempo of Taylor Swift songs.

I may not put the PowerTap back on my bike before Saturday. While trying to feel my way towards race pace over a 45′ effort is going to be challenging, since I’ve done nothing similar in nearly a year, I’m also not sure I actually want to see what numbers I’m holding. Logic suggests that they will not be as high as I am used to. And, I don’t know that an existentialist crisis about my fitness is going to help in the middle of the race.

After managing hard efforts of 1′-2′-2′-1′ and deciding that was good enough, I rode my road bike to Crossfit yesterday afternoon. Since I was running later after playing with Tupac, I had to haul ass to get there.

Here is the secret to hauling ass on your bike when you are running late: don’t try to do it all at once.

I read last week that people tend to overestimate what they can get done in a short period of time and underestimate what they can do over a long period of time with consistent effort. This was one of those annoying buzzy articles about time management, but it’s also true of sports. If you try to make up all the time in a super hard effort right away, you will probably end up throwing up on the side of the road and will not get to your destination on time. If you steadily put out a moderately hard effort the whole time, then you can do a 45′ ride in 35′.

The other secret is not to flagrantly disregard traffic rules even if you’re in a super hurry, because dying would really hinder your ability to get somewhere on time.