Tonight was another installment of the Spinner's time trial series. In fact, it is the last one of the year. I rode in the July installment and had a good time - I mean I really enjoyed it, but my finish time was good. Tonight, I had a great time in both senses.
It looked like a good turnout tonight. I'm not sure exactly how many people came out, but this time the spinners added in a team time trial option. I saw at least 4 teams out there. Once again, the volunteers who put this whole thing together deserve a big THANK YOU!
Several things are different about tonight's attempt as compared to last month's attempt. First, I have lost about 8 pounds over the last several weeks. This is a good thing as I really do need to drop this extra weight if I have any chance of keeping up with Jonathan, Perry and Joey for the ride to Austin. Second, the weight loss allows me to get into a better aero position - I think this had a big effect tonight. Third, I actually did a pretty good warm up ride. Finally, I have been riding more these last few weeks - I think that has improved my strength and endurance.
After getting checked in, I started out on a warm-up ride. This is very different from last time. I know there is great value in getting warmed up, I just don't often do it properly. This time, I basically rode the course as a warm up. I learned a few things - there was a bit of wind out there tonight. I also practiced riding in a better aero position. I took it pretty easy only going hard a couple of times to get my heart rate up.
When my start time approached, I lined up and waited for the signal. From last time I had learned to start off in my big ring. I took off from the line and I think I red-lined it for a little while. I realized I went out too hot relatively quickly, so thankfully, I didn't blow myself out.
Last time I set my computer so I could see my average speed during the ride. This time, I set it so I could watch my time. I won't remember all my split times, but I do recall really feeling it as I went up the hill towards the turn-around. I made the turn and my clock was showing something between 13 and 14 minutes. If I recall, it was closer to 13 than it was to 14, but not by much. I felt this was a good sign - if I could only keep it up.
Thankfully, there seemed to be a bit of a tailwind coming out from the turn-around. It's also downhill, but I had to keep pushing myself mentally as my legs were feeling it already. I was really motivated to improve over my last time.
The hill next to the 3M plant is really not that steep, but it has an effect on my speed. I did my best to carry as much speed as I could up that rise. I felt like I had a tough time finding the right gear for that rise - one gear resulted in a lower cadence than I wanted, the next seemed too high. Finally, I settled on the lower cadence and pushed it a little to bring the cadence up.
Again, I don't recall what my split time was, but when I came past the country route turn-off I was feeling good about my time. Throughout the ride, I was in the drops in what I considered to be my best aero position, or sometimes I would keep my body in the same position, but move my hands up to the hoods. Something about this change made a mental difference - I'm not really sure why. I can't speak about the relative aerodynamic effectiveness except to say I think being down in the drops was probably a little more efficient.
I kept watching my time as I came past the Michelin plant. I knew I was going at a pace that was better than last month, but I just didn't know how much better. That means I was doing better than 22mph on average. At that speed, I was covering 1 mile in something less than 3 minutes. I was feeling really confident my finish time was going to be better than last month.
The last little uphill at the end of the runway was coming up, so I did my best to push it hard as I made the slight descent. Unfortunately, it seemed I was running into a headwind. That really made this section more difficult. Without the wind, that little hill can rob you of speed. With the wind, it's going to extract a higher toll. I tried to compensate by pushing as hard as I could. My respiration rate was pretty high, but I was concentrating hard on my body position and felt I was doing a good job of keeping my lungs at maximum capacity (instead of slouching in my position - effectively reducing the available volume of my lungs).
I crested that small hill and kept on it. I ran through the gears to keep my pedal cadence up as the ground flattened out. My speed was increasing and my heart was pounding! I looked down at my clock and I knew without a doubt I had beat last month's time. As I crossed the line, I looked at my own clock to see very close to 26 and a half minutes. I would have to wait for the official results to confirm it.
After a short cool-down, I headed back to my car and loaded up my bike. I was hoping I might be able to get my time so I could get home and get some dinner (I was starving). Luckily, they were entering times in and by the time I got over to the tent, my time was showing. My official time was 26:34 - 53 seconds faster than last month. That works out to an average speed of 22.6mph - 0.7mph faster than last month.
I'm pleased with that result. Although I didn't post up a specific time or speed goal for tonight, it was always to improve from last month. I did that by a fairly significant margin. Perhaps by next year I'll be ready to break the 26 minute mark (or better)!.
3 years ago