Tuesday was the first TT of the season. There were 6 of us that met at Jackson at Station 5:45AM. It was me, Keith, Lance, Todd and Raland – Robin was also present but just along for the ride. Todd and Raland were new to the TT format.
We warmed up a bit by riding to campus and back – about 10 miles. We would start out at 30 second intervals. It is challenging to try to pass the rider in front while not being passed by the pursuing riders. Keith was the fastest all last year and is the man to beat again. Last year he would start last and pass many of us in the 11.85 mile out and back. This year, it was decide, since he is so much faster than us that he would start first and record our times at the finish – there would be no fear of him getting passed by any riders. Keith also posted a PR of 29:54 about a week ago – a couple of seconds better than last year.
I also posted a PR about a month ago – a 30:26 which was 1:34 better than last year. So, Keith took off followed by Todd and Raland. I was next and Lance would be last (Robin had started a few minutes before all of us but he was just riding a tempo ride – no TT for him).
I know from experience that my best times are when I start a little slow and build. This works in everything short – 5K’s and these TT’s for sure. That went out the window instantly. Within 100 yards my heart rate was in zone 4 – the 170’s. I have never been able to sustain that high of a heart rate on the bike – running is another story. I passed first Raland and then Todd in the first couple of miles. Then there was no one in my reach. Anyway, with my new race mantra running through my head – THE TIME IS NOW SO – DON’T HOLD BACK!!! – I just held my heart rate and continued to push on. The effort was hard – VERY HARD but I continued to hold. Nearing the turnaround of the out and back I saw that Keith was a little more than a ½ mile ahead – this meant that I had not lost too much time to him – he started 90 seconds ahead of me. I caught a 1 or 2 second break at the turn around and saw that Lance was hot on my heels – right at 30 seconds behind me. I am just a little competitive and I did not want to see Lance’s wheel at all – I pushed on.
With the slight (very slight) uphill over I was able to push a bigger gear on the back portion. I kept the intensity up and persevered. There was another cyclist on a TT bike out on the trace that was not with us – he was pushing a good pace and this gave me a target to pursue. I passed this cyclist and still continued to not allow the heart rate to drop. This was the hardest that I have ever ridden. Passing Clyde Station I knew that there was only 2 miles left. The stop watch indicated that the time trial was nearing 30 minutes. I could not let the intensity fade. The last 2 miles my mouth was hanging open and my breathing was much labored. I could not continue this much longer.
I crossed the finish line completely spent. I slowed down and came to a stop. My stop watch indicated 30:40 (Keith clocked me at 30:38) – 14 seconds slower than last month. I was a little disappointed but I knew that even though this was not the fastest that I have ridden it was the best that I have ever ridden. I chock up the slightly slower time to the hard weekend. I was pleased with being able to maintain that high of a heart rate for that duration. The last TT that I did (my PR run) my average heart rate was only 164 – for this run it was 172. I will try another time trial when my legs are fresher and try to maintain that same intensity – I would like to see a SUB-30 for this TT route.
Keith put up another PR – 29:40 – 15 seconds faster than last week (that is what competition does for you). Lance finished about 30 seconds behind me – about a minute faster than last year. Todd and Raland put up good bench mark numbers.
Lunch was an easy recovery run out on the trace. Vic ran with me and it may have been a little much for him. His pace slowed dramatically in the second half of the run. I did not mind the slower pace and I enjoyed the conversation.