Since there wasn't anyone there to take pictures and they did not have an event photographer, I've had to improvise for this report on the Spring Time Trial at Presque Isle on Sunday, April 26th.
This is an anual event and I've consistently done better each year. In 2006, my first year back in the sport after a 16 year absence, I barely averaged 20mph. Last spring I was almost at 26 mph, so this year I had high hopes after the Spain training camp.
The race came at the end of a recovery week, so I felt good and rested. As I started, the first mile (on the 12.5 mile flat course) felt great, but soon realized I needed to back it down a little. The heart rate was 185 just a few moments into the race and I was trying to hold 180 or just over for the duration.
Here's what it felt like at the start, and for the first mile or so. I was on a rocket ready to go and have a great race.
Miles 1-3 went by quick. Riders started every 15 seconds and I was picking the riders that started ahead of me off with ease and regularity. It's nice to have a 'target' ahead and around each bend to ride to and then head to the next rider. Heart rate remained high, never saw anything below 185 for this stretch. Also, it's on a one-way road with 2 lanes for much of the first part of the race and the right hand lane is for bikes, the left hand lane is for cars. They are limited to 25mph so for the first few miles of the race I was passing cars, which is always fun.
Miles 4-6 felt good. Just kept trying to hammer and keep the effort as maximum as I could. I didn't feel quite like I was riding a rocket anymore, but I still felt good and imagine I looked like this as I sped on.
I had stripped my bike down, no water bottles, and although I tried to hydrate all morning I was really thirsty and dying for a drink early on. Heart rate remained high but I felt good otherwise.
After mile 6, or maybe a mile or so later it started to really feel like work. Legs felt like noodles, every little breeze felt like a hurricane and any little incline or the one small bridge the course goes over felt like mountains. I kept my head down, tried to maintain an aero tuck and never came out of the aero bars once. I knew if I could get to mile 10 that I'd be ok, and I just kept focusing on getting to the 2.5 to go mark. Heart rate remained high and by now my sunglasses were covered in sweat and getting hard to see out of. I continued to pass riders and had not yet been passed. As per usual there was a slight headwind during the return phase of the loop, and although I was still going along at a pretty good clip I felt I must have looked like this.
Got to mile 10 quicker than I thought, and the rest was a blur. By now could hardly see out of my sunglasses and I was simply holding on. Came around the final bend and saw the small group of people standing at the finish line way down the road, but I was not 100% sure it was the end of the ride. Looked at my time on my Garmin Edge and saw I was at 27 and change. I knew it was going to be close for me to break 28 minutes, but for some reason I was still not sure what I was seeing was the finish so I didn't try to sprint just yet. Once I got a little closer I realized it was in fact the end but I had nothing left in the tank for any kind of sprint to the finish. Just put my head down and tried to finish the last 20-30 seconds as hard as I could, which at the time felt like 12 mph.
Got done, hit stop, and saw 28:10, but I know it took me a few seconds to hit the stop on the Garmin. Rode around for 5-10 minutes to try to cool down then went to the car to ditch the sweaty clothes, get into my sneakers and get some recovery drink in me. Waited around for the results and found out I came in 12th out of about 175 or so, 2nd in the Male 35-39 age group. Final time was 28:05 which resulted in an average speed of 26.7 mph, and was a 57 second personal best from the same ride last spring. Final HR average for 28 minutes was 185. And for kickers the Garmin data shows I did about 1/4 of the loop in Lake Erie.
Afterwards went home, rested up for a little bit then went out and did an 8 mile run with some hills. Legs felt really good and was able to clip along at a 7:10 pace without feeling like I was putting out a ton of effort.
Up next is a big week of training and one last big weekend (HIM simulation on Saturday, long ride Sunday) before a short taper week and then Jerseyman Half on May 9th.