Friday, May 25, 2012
Pain Train And The Time Trial... Ride and Race Report
This past week has been a pretty awesome week on the bicycle. Last weekend saw brutal, long, and exhausting hours working on the ladder. I came into this week knowing that I would be tired. Monday I ran with a friend and logged a surprisingly sharp pace given the level of fatigue in my legs and a relatively low perceived effort. Tuesday night was a group ride and what a group ride it was!! It is called the "Pain Train Race Ride" for a reason!! Wednesday was a moderate length run with speed intervals followed by a time trial yesterday.
Oh wait? What was that? TIME TRIAL!! Yes. For the first time in a year…. the Duck toed the starting line of a race. It was a short time trial held by the Tyler Bicycle Club and the East Texas Triathletes. I haven't found the results posted online but I think I finished second among the women… though that could be waaaay off base since I determined that by scouring the time sheets for times faster than mine. EIther way, I am thrilled with the result. The photographer was a volunteer and she is going to send me a disk with my photos on it. I will post them when I have them.
The course was 4 miles and I did it in 7:41.39. I was a little too conservative at the start. There was a tail wind and I went out determined not to blow up. The other riders had made a big deal about two hills at the end of the course. I knew I would need to have something in reserve to deal with hills and I was wary of the intense week I had loaded into my legs. They have let me down before when they get deep into overload. When I started, I felt great and quickly ran to the high 20's for speed. I remember thinking.. "ease off. You've got a ways to go!" I cautiously pushed to speeds up over 30 and let myself off the leash at 2.5 miles. I crossed the finish line still accelerating and felt like I could have gone twice the distance! What hills? Oh yeah, crested those going 29 and my max speed on course was 37. I am a little sorry I didn't fire earlier, but I am glad I stuck to my plan since I had no idea what to expect. Without that tailwind, those speeds would have felt a LOT worse. Now I know how fast a short course feels (everyone kept saying how long it felt) and I will follow perceived exertion a little more closely next time. An old riding instructor once told me that showing is a skill that must be learned and practiced like any other. Same idea applies to racing. I am just thrilled to be back in the game after SOOOO long!! I finished the race on my toes and hungry for more!!
Rewind to earlier in the week and there is the group ride I mentioned. Don't let the word "group" fool you. It was a crit style race ride with a ruthless pack of excellent riders jockeying for position and taking corners at astonishing speeds. This duck was in some deep water here! I had expected a fast ride but assumed there would be a pace line, which I knew I would be dependent upon to maintain averages in the low to mid 20's for 40 miles. Nope, sorry, Duck. No pace line! I found myself at a huge disadvantage since I did not know the route. Never really knowing when to floor it and when to back off. Also, I was not confident cornering at those speeds on some really sketchy road surfaces. After having to chase out of every corner for 45 mins, I finally got dropped on a hill where I made a bad choice in gearing and lost some momentum. The pack was going to fast for me to make it up.
I rode briefly with a couple of other riders who were recently dropped but ended up being happier finding my own space and stayed a short distance behind them, maintaining the same speeds. This worked well until they turned a corner and disappeared! I am serious!! Disappeared! As in abducted by aliens! Then I was alone. Ordinarily not a concern as I usually ride alone but since I was in a strange town, on an unfamiliar route, and totally disoriented…. Well, I guess that is why I had a gps in my pocket. I pulled up a map and got a route back to the shop. The road home was some kind of crazy packed gravel for six miles so I had to watch that pretty average speed plummet as I felt all of the fillings in my teeth rattle loose! After that, the road changed to smooth asphalt and I could not have been more grateful. In the end, it was still a respectable average pace and I was pleased that I hung on as long as I did.
It was a great week. I felt like I was outside my comfort zone and developing as a cyclist, athlete, and racer. I will be back for more abuse the next time I am in Tyler!!