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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A New PB, and room for improvement

The local free time trial practice, casually known as the Putah Creek Smack Down (tongue in cheek), held their first of 4 40km TTs tonight.  I've done that distance about a dozen times on the tandem, and once as a 2-woman team, but never solo.

Tonight I rode it alone, with no aero equipment. I'm not sure aero equipment would have helped.  The wind was howling, flags flying straight out, with gusts up to 30 mph.  The 1st and 3rd legs were mostly into the wind, with lots of cross, including the 2nd and 4th legs.  The start required not just one guy holding my bike by the saddle, but the other on the upwind side of the front wheel, to keep me from blowing over.  Wow!

So I had some difficulty settling into a rhythm, given the gusty cross/headwinds.  I think it was 2 or 3 km before I  found some kind of rhythm.  Wasted energy there.  Oh, well...

Kept going and going and going.  I was passed by big guys on TT/tri bikes with TT gear.  I was buoyed by the fact that no one else riding a la Merckx; i.e., no aero gear) passed me.

I nearly bailed at the 20 km mark but decided since I was warmed up I might as well keep going.  The 3rd leg was again into the wind and I was definitely feeling the effort of the 1st half; legs tight, hip flexors burning, back aching.  I tried to ignore those distractions and kept ramping up my cadence and gears, esp. for the last leg.  My goal was to be totally spent at the end of the ride.

The last km I started accelerating and kept accelerating until I crossed the line.  I have to hand it to Joe and Cody, they are so positive and encouraging -- they made me feel as though I was the leader when I turned back into the wind, and cheered when I finished.

1:15:19 was slower than I had hoped but still a PB as a solo 40 km.  The wind was definitely a factor.  I hope to improve my time at the next  long TT.  Meanwhile, I'm happy with my results and wish I had more Tiger Balm for my sore muscles.  I'm glad I hung in for the whole thing -- and glad the rain stayed west of us.  I hate riding in the rain.

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