Friday, February 22, 2013

A Torrential Time Trial (Practice)

They say, "Train heavy, race light". Today was sort of like that, only I would say, "Train in the worst possible weather, race in the sunshine (one can hope, right?)".

Jen, our top Time Trial racer (also our BARR--Best All-Around Road Racer), offered to do a practice Time Trial with us newbies and those who haven't done a TT. We met at her house at 10:00. I rode over, of course, which was a nice warm-up for me. Since I didn't want to start the practice soaking wet, I wore my rain pants over my kit from my house to Jen's. I also wore my helmet cover and put the rear fender on Tessa. I had put the aerobars back on as well.

At Jen's, I took off the fender, rain pants, helmet cover, and water bottle. The Time Trial part itself was just under 9 miles so I wouldn't need water (there was plenty of that coming out of the sky anyway). Debbie, Maria, Jen, and I rode down to East Bay Dr. We would start at Glass St., go out to Woodard Bay Rd, turn around, and come back. This course is hillier than most time trials.

Not only was it pouring down rain, but it was also very windy. It was cold and nasty. Without the rear fender, my backside was soaked right away. The wind was blowing hard from the south, so that meant the first half would be a hearty tailwind. However, coming back would be a terrible headwind.

I opted to go first. Since there is no drafting allowed on a TT, we would go off the start at 30 second intervals. Jen held my bike so I could clip in to both pedals. She counted down from 10 and off I went. With the tailwind, it was easy getting up to speed. The trick was to not go out too hard. I knew I would need a lot of strength on the way back in the wind. The worst part going out was dodging all the debris and trying to stay out of the rivers running down the road. At the halfway mark I was at 13 minutes.

At Woodard Bay Rd I made the turn around (there were no cars--yay!) and headed back into the wind. My speed plummeted. Now was the hard part. The wind was blowing the rain right at my face. My glasses were coated to where I could only see about 6 feet in front of me. I came down the hill near Priest Point Park. The trees and the uphill were doing a good job of blocking some of the wind but, as I came up and around the curve, the wind blasted me full force. If I had stopped pedaling, I would have gone backwards! After Priest Point, the road goes slightly downhill. I couldn't tell though because the wind was doing its darnedest to blow me back the other way. I pushed as hard as I could on the pedals, couldn't see a thing out of my glasses, and crossed the finish in 30:22. Maria came in just a little over 2 minutes after me, and Debbie was a little over 4 minutes after me.

Jen took the shortest way back to her house as she was freezing cold from standing there waiting for us. Debbie went back the way we had gone to the start. Maria and I took a longer way back to cool down (or rather, spin the lactate out of our legs--we were none too hot). Maria was kind enough to offer me a ride home in her car from Jen's house.

So, what did we learn today? Well, we learned that even in a torrential downpour and strong winds, we can do it. The Icebreaker TT is a flat course, so even if the weather is just as bad as today, it will still be easier. Frankly, I don't think the weather can get any worse...unless it snows!

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