(Long Distance) Ramblings

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Raven Flies TT - The Fun Continues

21 Maurice John Henry Capitol Velo p/b Lifesource 37:04.72

Yesterday was a busy day.

I woke up at 4:30 am. This because I was a volunteer at the Birkie Brevet put on by the Oregon Randonneurs. My job was to work registration and I had to be in Forest Grove at 6:00 am. Forest Grove is an hour away from my home.

It was cold in Forest Grove, but we got 41 folks off on what would prove to be an excellent ride. But my mind was on other things, like how I would rip my lungs out on my second attempt at the As the Raven Flies Time Trial.

I arrived at the race start with just enough time to warm up. I put my LeMond on my stationary trainer and rode it for 25 minutes getting my heart rate up to 145 bpm. The course is flat, for the first 100 yards, then you climb the highest hill on the course. As such, you must be warmed up right as you begin.

I headed down to the starting gate 15 minutes before my start time of 10:29. I first check the race clock. It was close enough to real time that I was not late. I decided a last minute bladder emptying was in order but I had to wait in line for five minutes causing me some anxiety. But no worries as I was at the start with time to spare.

Unlike last week, the sun was out and the temperature was in the mid-fifties - perfect racing weather. My legs felt good and I thought I did have a chance to take some time off of my last weeks time of 40:37. I had not set any specific goals, well perhaps a few - do better than last week, race hard but have fun!

The last ten second count down always seems to take five seconds and fifty seconds at the same time. But I heard "zero" and I was off. I had just enough time to get my heart rate up before the hill started. As the incline increased, I shifted down into the middle chain ring (yes, I ride a triple) as I had wanted to be in a gear that I could spin as I crested the top. I watch my heart rate go into zones it rarely sees, but always stayed in a gear that I could spin. I did not want to blow up on the first hill of the route.

Looking up, I could see my minute man near the top of the hill. Hmm, I have a rabbit. Let's to rabbit hunting!

Cresting the hill, I was in good shape. I shifted into my top gear, and peddled down the hill chasing my rabbit. No coasting for me!

Having done the course the week before, I was a bit more aggressive in the corners. I roadway was smooth and clear of gravel, so I felt fine as I zoomed through down the course. Keeping an eye on my rabbit, I could tell that he was not pulling away from me. It seemed like we were equal on the flats, but on each little hill, I was gaining. So, I worked extra hard on each hill and I could see the results. My rabbit was getting closer!

On the last little hill before the turn-around, my rabbit was getting into dire straits. His cadence was slow and so was his speed. I passed him like he was standing still. It felt good.

Now, I was in trouble. My rabbit was now behind me making me his rabbit. And I had no one to chase. This could be bad. At the turn-around, I could see that I was not that far in front of my former rabbit. I focused and worked as hard as I could on each little hill trying to eke out every bit of speed I could.

There is one turn in the course, one place where you can easily look over your shoulder to see what is behind you. When I made this turn, I did look behind me to see where my chaser was, and I could not see him! I had dropped him!

Now, it was me against time. I knew I was doing better than last week. I did some quick mental calculations, and determined I had a chance of finishing below 37:00. As I came to the last hill, I was determined not to blow up so I shifted down to the smallest cog the bike has while staying in the big ring. I could feel myself slowing and I wanted to shift into the middle ring. But looking up I was only 20 yards from the top so I increased my effort and peddled harder.

Cresting the hill, I shifted into my highest gear, but I needed a few seconds to recover. Just moments later, I peddled as hard as I could down the hill, taking the last corner at speed and sprinted for the finishing line. I crossed it at 34:04:72. I felt great! I almost made it, but missed by only five seconds.

I finished 21st of 27 starters in my classification and 67th our of 92 started combined.

Life is good.

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