Today was the first of two Time Trials that take place just outside of Estacada, OR. The TT a 20 mile out and back race that has a little over 500 feet of climbing on the way out, and about the same amount of descending on the way back. Only one section is a steep climb where you have to drop out of your big ring and get out of your aero bars.
I've ridden this course seven or so times now so I know the course well and the pacing needed for the race. The big issue is always the weather. One race a year or two back had temps in the low 30's, wind, rain, snow, hail and for brief period of time sun....though most years its the wind that makes a difference. Parts of the course follow a canyon wall which causes the wind to swirl so you might enter a section with a tail wind and leave it with a head wind. Also up on the mountain side the wind likes to change direction mid day...when many riders are out on the course.
Today was one of those days. On the way out we had a headwind, not a strong wind, but enough to make a difference. On the way back we had a good tail wind for the first 6 miles, but then it turned into a head wind for the final 4 miles or so, which in a TT are the hardest without the wind.
Going into today I didn't know what to expect performance wise. Last week I would have had a good idea, but I caught a flu bug last Thursday and went home early on Friday with a fever of 101 degrees. I was in and out of a fever all weekend and had stomach issues through Monday.
Basically, I felt like crap all week long. I did a 1 hour easy ride on Monday just to get on the bike, did some really, really bad intervals on Tuesday, went out for a 2 hour ride on Wednesday and could barely hold 200 watts for an extended period of time, did intervals again (with a bit more success) on Thursday and had easy rides on Friday and Saturday.
My legs were sore this morning, which is never a good sign, but didn't feel too bad really. After warming up (extending it to an hour this time) I still didn't feel too bad. My legs may not have had as much punch as usual but their endurance seemed to be good.
Once underway I was able to get into a steady rhythm and keep my HR in the high 150's. The course was in fairly good condition but I could see more broken glass on the side of the road....which caused a flat for a teammate of mine....so I stayed to the road side of the while line just to avoid issues with glass.
At the turn around point, felt pretty good catching one of the riders that started in front of me at around mile 8.5. Shortly after the turn around point I passed another rider, then caught one more for good measure before crossing the finish line.
On the day I had an official time of 47:48 which isn't bad all things considered and finished 2nd in the 40+ masters division. That is about 40 seconds slower than my fastest time on this course, which I'll get a second shot at in two weeks when I race there again...hopefully feeling much better. I'd like to chop a good minute off of that time and get under 47 minutes for the first time.
Overall....a beautiful day to race on a beautiful course :D