Not trying to peak for this, just been trying to shake a sore throat ever since the University Road Race two weeks ago and feeling a little worse after the Giro last week, trying to not push myself into a hole and getting sicker.
So I am really well *rested* coming into this from a lot less riding, but five pounds heavier than last week because I haven't bothered changing my diet...
Wasn't sure I was even doing this until I woke up and my sore throat wasn't as bad as it was yesterday.
Rick said this will probably be a road race next year in the spring, to avoid conflicts with farming schedules.
One of the four riders who signed up for my category did not show up, and I start last, this gives me a three minute man, and a one minute man. The course is continuously rolling with very good pavement with the exception of maybe ten to twenty potholes marked by cones. Due to the rolling hills, often times cannot see anyone who is more than two minutes ahead.
The course starts with a big downhill, and I hit 45 mph and decide that crashing in the first turn would look pretty silly and get on the brake levers just in case. I remind myself to save a little bit for this hill at the end.
After the excitement of competition wears off, try to go a little above threshold on the uphills and a little below threshold on the downhills ( by the end, I am coasting on the downhills). After ten minutes I catch my three minute man, but the one minute man is nowhere to be seen. He beat me by about a minute at the Mt Diablo Hill climb so he is a better climber than I am, but I have a few more aerodynamic pieces of equipment compared to him and I am a midget compared to him so I have to push those advantages to the hilt to even things out on this course.
Fifteen minutes I think I can see my one minute man. I put my head down as I put in a little extra effort and then I hit a pothole really hard and think I have broken my front wheel but it turns out my chain has come off my one chainring setup and is making a heck of a lot of noise. I stop, check the front wheel ( did I break a spoke? no) and put the chain back on in thirty seconds and start rolling again.
Twenty six minutes later I reach the turnaround, my one minute man tantalizingly close. We must have had a slight partial tailwind going out because it is much harder coming back.
I spot my rabbit, Roland, every so often, cresting hills ahead of me. There is a bridge we traversed on the way out that is one lane where a CHP officer is stationed and this time through I stay on the aerobars but manage to hit an expansion joint so hard that my chain goes flying off again. Attempt to put it on by hand, but come closer to chopping off my fingers as the chain goes from outside to the chainstay, so I stop, put it back on, and start my pursuit again after wasting a minute with the chain.
To add to the list of things going wrong, the dry conditions mean my throat is parched and my thirst is driving me a little crazy. But I am still sweating so haven't reached dehydration.
At this point figure I should save some for the crit tomorrow, and try to ride just threshold on the uphills, and whatever I can manage on the downhills. VeloPromo has helpfully provided miles to go signs starting at five, and I spot my one minute man way off in the distance cresting a hill, he is so far away that I can't see his legs moving, but I know it's not a mirage because he's not there when I get to that hill top. I might yet have a chance at this, just need to finish within a minute of him to win, not catch him, screw the crit tomorrow!
I push myself over threshold on the uphills again, just to not lose any ground, and threshold on the downhills. (My average power for the end of the races keeps rising above threshold for the last five miles). With each passing mile marker I can see Roland get larger and larger. I don't know if it's closer than a minute so I have to keep pushing. The last long hill is cruelly hard on a time trial bike with only a big ring. I pedal so hard that I don't notice I am drifting off the road and onto a shoulder made of quarter size rocks until it's too late and start my cross season a little early, but I don't panic and steer back onto the road. Then I blow, and the crest of the final hill and the finish line is still out of sight.
Haven't driven this far to quit. I just make myself ignore the searing lungs and demons telling me to quit and sprint the last part of the hill and win by the tiny margin of ~ten seconds after almost an hour of racing.
Most time trials around here start the riders by alphabetical order of last name, in larger fields this is disadvantage because with enough riders, there is enough passage of time for winds to pick up, but today with a small field it turns the race into something akin to a really, really long pursuit for me, and it's a huge advantage to be able to see the rider in front of me.
D: 36.1 km