Today was the "As the Raven Flies" ITT...It's a new TT series near Portland, so another chance to break out the TT bike and have some fun.
I've had two weeks of hard riding and upped my interval sessions by 30 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday to include and extra 20 minute threshold effort...so my legs were a little worn out yesterday and a bit sore as well. With that in mind I didn't know what kind of performance I could put in today, especially since I hadn't seen this course before.
Looking at the profile of the TT it didn't look all that bad. The steepest grade looked to be about 2% with a 75 foot or so climb at the beginning and a slow descent to the turn around point, then an uphill climb to the finish and back over the initial climb.
Well....the profile was very deceiving. The initial climb was closer to 150-200 feet and was closer to 6% - 8%....Then there was only one short flat section and the rest of the course was fairly steep rollers.
Basically it was hard to establish a rhythm with all the course changes and turns...which in many ways is nice because it adds some diversity to the course.
Given my poor performance at Jack Frost I wanted to get a bit more warm up, so I gave myself 45 minutes to warm up and got back into my rhythm from last year. My legs actually felt fairly good overall especially considering how hard the past two weeks have been on my legs, and the fact I'm still running a fairly high caloric deficit to lose weight....down to 198 pounds now....only 18 to go :)
The start of the race was on a nice flat road, but you couldn't see the first climb until you turned the corner....it was here where the "Oh Crap" though ran through my mind. I topped the climb in my 52x23 at around 12.5 mph...then promptly hit 43 mph on the back side of the climb.
On the way out I passed a lot of people that were in front of me...A couple from my category, the womens category and some of the CAT 4/5 racers...but on the way back there were not many to catch, which means few if any carrots to chase and it becomes a mental game.
Knowing the final climb was coming, I backed off just a little heading into it and thankfully it wasn't as steep from this side so the climb was a little faster.
Overall....I had a time of 28:52 and took 2nd in the Masters 40+ category and had the 8th fastest time on the day. It was a better showing than at Jack frost when comparing my times to others that I raced against then and I was much closer to them (or put more distance on them) than at Jack Frost on a harder course that has much, much more climbing....so I feel a lot better about the progression of my fitness to this point.
In the end, a beautiful day (temps in the low 60's), a fun though unexpected course and some good racing.
I'm currently planning on racing at the Banana Belt #2 road race tomorrow in the Masters 40+ race, but I'm keeping an eye on the weather. I wasn't planning on doing a road race for another 3 weeks...so this isn't a planned race and will be weather dependent. As it is, I'm still likely too fat to hang on to the pack considering the reverse direction this week and a nice steep climb that we will have to go up 4 times...but if I race, I'll see what kind of road race shape I'm currently in.
Photos courtesy of: Matthew Haughey