23:07, Masters 35+ 12th place (of 36), 9.5 miles, 24.64 avg mph - The TT was on Saturday Feb. 14th. The first race of the year, first on Aaron's and first as a Cat 3 (though I entered Masters). I have mixed emotions about this event.
Set-up: TT's are not my strong point. I've only done 2 ITT before this one and blew myself up in the first mile or two on both previous ones and just held on until the end. I've spent a lot of time training over the winter including my power class which gave me a lot of tools to work on this discipline. Jeff Blau let me use his Zipp 808 with a power tap with my new 404 front so I would have power numbers in-front of me for pacing and a true power number for an effort at this distance out on the road.
Goals and tactics: I thought I could ride at 280 - 310 watts for the effort and avg somewhere in the middle of that range. I was looking to go under 23 minutes with a goal time of 22:30, hoping to hit 25 mph avg speed. Based on my class I think my "sweet spot" between cadence and leg power (torque) is low 90's RPM without jacking my HR through the roof. I was going to use the power numbers for pacing, the slop to know when to put a little extra efforts on the climbs and hr to judge the effort that the legs were feeling.
What happened: Ronnie on the Aaron's team got a spot right in-front of the start/finish. I saw Danielle start. (and finished 5th at around 25 minutes even with an awkward start and turn-around) I was nice having a team around for the race (all in it together kind of thing) Kind of lost track of time and got on the bike a little late for my warm-up. I was adjusting the bike right up until my start. As usual, I felt nothing in the legs for the first few minutes and thought I was going really slow but followed my pacing to keep from blowing up. Having not ridden on the road with power numbers it became all I looked at and judged based on the pain in my legs if I should put more effort in or not. The legs weren't warmed up but were going OK. I never looked at my speed until about 2/3 of the way through. I didn't look at my hr at all. I saw that I was just under 12 minutes at the turn around and there were more climbs on the way out than going back and the legs felt like they were starting to come around. Once I saw the finish tent I put the hammer down on the legs (and bumped the power tap and it turned off). I finished with 298 watt avg according to the power tap but maybe 300 since it turned off early before my 30 second sprint effort.
Reflections: I should have warmed up more. I should have kept my eye on the time and hr and increased the power more from the 1/2 way mark and gone all out from 15 or 16 minutes in. I still had gas in the tank when I was done which isn't like me at all. I could have gone harder. Although I wasn't uncomfortable, it's definitely been a while since I've been on the TT bike because I wasn't completely comfortable. I need more time with a power meter on the bike to know when to use it and when to go by feel as well as how to balance information input with everything else. I underestimated what kind of power it would take to get to my goal time. There is a fine line between just under the limit and just over. I did decrease my time by 40 seconds over my practice run 3.5 months ago (and I was DONE at the end of that one). The oddity was that I would have been 12th in the Cat 3's, 10th in the 4's and 10th in the 5's. Bunch of sand baggers. Or 7th in the 1's (since there were only 6 riders). Some positives and some things to learn from. The 2009 season has started.
Pics: Carol Miniutti (Blau's girlfriend) took pictures with Ronnie's camera for us. We had a just under a dozen riders on the Aaron's team over the day. The first shot from L to R, Ronnie, Blau, Jim, Me, Gram. Warmup. Start. Finish