Monday, May 14, 2007
on my first real TT
(Photos: Kimberly Weixel--Thanks!)
Success! I achieved everything I wanted to today. It was a roundabout way of making it all happen, but it happened, and I guess that's the important thing.
My racing club has a monthly TT series, which happened to be tonight. It starts early (so we can get everyone done before dark), so I knew I'd have to extract myself from the office way early in order to get everthing done. I also had to manage to get the new seat for my TT bike, and get that adjusted properly, and give myself an hour to warm up and ride over to the course, which is about 5 miles from my house. I got the new seat over lunch, but when I got home this afternoon and went to put it on, I hit my first snag...I couldn't for the life of me loosen the seat clamp! It was on there TIGHT! Ok...i tried and tried, I didn't think i was THAT weak....but I guess I am! So I didn't want to take the bike all the way downtown to my mechanic....so I called the bike shop which is 2 blocks away from my house, and thankfully the main mechanic answered, and said he would do it. So I rode it over, spare seat in my jersey pocket (sticking out the back), and he was able to get it switched out for me. I watched--it took him some serious effort, too, thus restoring my ego slightly. As I thanked him profusely and left, I said "thank goodness I'm a cyclist and not a weightlifter," which got a good chuckle :-)
On to the TT. I went early to pre-ride the course. I saw lots of other aero-looking people pre-riding the course. The one thing I saw that I didn't expect to see was a huge SNAKE in the bike lane! I had to swerve to avoid this 4-5 foot slithery thing! Ack. Thankfully that snake thought better of his positioning and removed himself before the race started. I got there and met up with David, who is the one who loaned me the bike. He said I looked great on it, nice and aero, and then gave me some pointers about how to ride a TT. It made me feel a lot better about the whole thing. Then I went and got in line. It's a self timed thing..you just line up and they send you off at 30 second intervals. David said that everyone feels awful at some point in a TT, and to just ride through it. Denise reminded me to be in the right gear at the start :-) (thanks denise!). I started mid-way through. I had a good start, got up to speed and heart rate quickly and settled into my rhythm. It always surprises me that in training it seems hard to get a 180 HR...but in a race or timed event of any sort, the little competitive spirit kicks in and I can dig a lot deeper. About half way through, I'm still rolling along, most of the hills behind me, thinking, I don't think I'm goign to be the slowest one! I then concentrate on smooth pedaling and steady breathing. And remembering where the turns are :-). After I negotiate the last turn (still getting used to the whole aero bar concept), I start back towards the finish, and it is time to ramp the heart rate for the final couple of beats. That is when the feeling showed up that David warned me about (the "i want to hurl my guts right now" feeling). However, I was almost done, and I decided I could just gut it out. So I pushed through it and finished with a 27:32. Now, the fastest time of the day was something like 22:40, but my time did happen to be the best woman's time (ok, so there were only 4), and also faster than a lot of other guys, so I am feeling good about it!
The Echelon TT is a really nice venue. It's low-key, everyone is super nice and helpful, and it just has a good vibe. I'll definitely go back again! I highly recommend it for anyone who happens to be in Santa Barbara on the 2nd monday of the month at 5:45pm! Now I'm feeling solid about the bike...and ready to race Kern in a few days. Now I just have to let the legs recover from my long weekend rides and this hard effort.