Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Race of Truth, can tell you ugly things

I completed a Time Trial race a weekend or so ago. You should have seen my other post, with a picture in it. I wanted to give you all a write up on that day and the experience.

Time Trial - A bicycle race against the clock. Racers leave every x minutes/seconds from the start line and complete the same distance. Racers are timed and the winner has the lowest time score.

Time Trial - Race of Truth. The time trial is called the race of truth in cycling because during stage races it is the one stage(s) where the cyclist is on his/her own. No teammates helping them by providing a draft or collecting food/water from the team car. No peloton to roll along with buffeted from the wind. Just the rider going as hard as he/she can against the clock.

Time Trial Equipment - Time trial races are where you see the cyclist using a very aerodynamic bicycle. Usually with time trial bars that place the rider in an even more aero position. Triathelets will use them too. I have a Ridley Cheetah that is an Aluminum frame and has Shimano DuraAce components. The bike is silly pretty. Racing the time trial was a nice way to justify owning the bike.

In the Tour de France the Time Trials are long, 20-4o miles on average. The race I did was just 12.7 miles. Not very long. But still, you go full out for that whole time.

The Race
It was held in Carnation, WA which is east of Seattle. Carnation still has a lot of farmland and it is evident when you drive through the town. I got up early, although I must give credit to Jack for helping me train so hard on getting up early over the past 18 months. I barely noticed it. I got to the race at 7am, with a scheduled start time of 8:45:30. As I drove closer to the town it was snowing and a little slick on the road. A roll-over accident (no injuries) had occurred on what was to be the race course. Upon arriving I wanted nothing to do with cycling. It was down right cold.

The race was delayed one hour to let the police clean up the accident (safety first). The race organizers did a really good job. I wanted them to cancel so bad because it was so cold. But in the time they delayed it did manage to warm up a bit. It went from really freaking cold to darn-right-chilly, so an improvement.

I jumped on my bike at 8:00am and started warming up. It is important to warm up the body and the muscles before you put in a hard effort like this. A guy riding on his trainer in the van next to me warmed up for over 2 hours. I only did 35 minutes.

My main goal was really just to finish and be under 35 minutes for the ride. I wanted to have fun, fly the team Lenovo colors for Kryki Sports and just enjoy myself.

At the start I was all kitted out in the team colors. The bike felt good. I was pretty warmed up and I just waited to start.

At the Tour they count the time down. Lavi and I have a lot of fun with that. We'll count down things like Tour officials just to be silly. I tried to think of that and smile as I started off.

Boom, the time starts and I stomped on the pedals. Found a good rhythm and got tucked into my aero position. I pushed a hard pace for myself, but measured. I didn't want to blow up. I know how to manage my efforts. The key is to keep the power up while you do it.

I raced along the roads and felt pretty good in the aero position. My bike fit from Coach Undem at Cycle University really paid off. Nice job Craig! I ticked over the pedals pretty well. I whizzed by Jason who was taking pictures. I was so fast his pictures were blurry. Either that or his manual settings were off, but I'm going with I was so fast.

Now on training rides I never go all out. I leave some in the tank to get home, and some so that when I get home I don't collapse. I caught myself drifting off at times and slowing a bit. I had to shout at myself to "go go go!" The race would be over in 5 miles, 10 minutes, etc. and I needed to go hard the whole time. Don't leave anything for the end. It was funny to realize and fun to just dig in and go.

In the end I managed just over 34:00 minutes. So I met my goal. Not very fast by any means compared to others. But considering it was my first race since 2004 I was happy with it.

The Race of Truth is really true. You can't hide behind anything. It is just you going. The results are unaided and revealing. My results show I can manage it. That I have lots of room for improvement. That I can still have fun with the bicycle. That to be serious I need more time which I don't have right now, so to be modest and just do what I can. That having a stretch goal is fun when you accomplish it. That the coldest, hardest time on the bike is better than a lot of alternatives.

The zenfolio account has some more pictures if you want to check them out.

On your left,
Jeff

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