17 February 2007
The reason I have not been doing much posting lately is that I think I have a compressed disk in my neck so I can't pull or push on the handlebars very hard or I get a shooting pain down my arm. Even without the shooting pain there is a constant pain from the left shoulder down the arm, and sometimes in the neck, which varies in intensity, along with a varying amount of tingling in the same areas down to some of my fingers. This is about how I felt in the last CCCX cross race and some testing every once in a while with hard efforts out of the saddle or hitting the odd rough spot in the road gives the injury a chance to remind me that it is still there.
But there's lemonade to be made and after playing a bit with the pursuit bike I found that I can ride in the aero position on the time trial bars with less pain than I have when I am sitting upright in a chair at work so I found an outlet for some pent up race jones'ing. Also I want to test my fitness as my CTL is finally starting to teeter over 120 TSS again and I was topping 4.0 w/kg on OLH repeatedly. The Beat the Clock series is a fund raiser for the
Lance Armstrong Foundation, which no matter what you think of its namesake, helps cancer survivors. Since it is not a race, the traffic is not going to stop for the riders but at least they have marshals around to warn you if you are going to need to stop or slow. The course is a gradually descending 5 mile outbound leg and a gradually ascending five mile inbound leg, most of the elevation change in the first mile of the course and a series of rollers to the turnaround.
We had to pre reg for this race and got our start times via email which was a nice touch. Found myself slotted at 7:40 AM(!) behind multiple district and national champion Al Morrison and a few others I recognized as cat 1 and cat 2 so I was sure I was not seeing them again until they came back from the turnaround and two minutes behind me was scheduled someone who beat me by six minutes at Dunlop TT (about twice as long ) last year so I had my work cut out if I wanted to either not get caught or catch anybody.
I tried preriding the course in the same gear I have on my pursuit bike but had to use my arms too much which wasn't an option with the neck thing so I just stuck clip on aerobars on my road bike. The other equipment concessions to aerodynamics were shoe covers, skinsuit, aero helmet, Hed 60 front wheel. Also put on the Vittoria EVO tires with latex tubes to try them out in anger for the first time. Considered upping the gearing from 50x11 but didn't want to mess up the shifting and if any time needed to be made up, it would be better done on the uphill sections, not the fast bits.
Normally one has to be concerned about going out too hard but since I can't use my arm too much did not worry about this and got up to speed fairly quickly with the assistance of gravity. Not much to say about the rest of the ride except that since the course was rolling, one has to try to go harder on the uphill sections and a little less hard on the downhill/downwind sections. Felt like the outbound leg went really well and no one had caught me and I could see the riders who started before me only after they had started coming back from the turnaround. I glanced down at my elapsed time and it was twelve minutes then almost missed the turn but the helpful marshals waved me through. I did not catch anyone and no one caught me on the inbound leg either but from the results it looks like the guy who whooped me at Dunlop came close.
Examining the data reveals I should have
a.) gone a little harder on the downhill sections, especially after cresting the hills it looks like I rested too much or was satisfied with going fast and not thinking about going hard
b.) already I went out about ten percent harder twice this week for the same length of time but those were constant intensity efforts and not stochastic like this, maybe need to try to make this more constant so I don't need to make a judgement on balancing the high/low intensity load. In either case I should be capable of a much better time and if I get an aero rear wheel instead of just using my normal 32 spoke wheel can save some time there as well.
c.) took three minutes longer on the uphill split. I might have saved a bit too much for the last five minutes which was my max five minutes for the day but not that great for me, was hoping to average that power for the whole event!