Monday, June 14, 2010

OBRA ITT Championships

Yesterday was the OBRA (Oregon Bicycle Racing Association) Individual Time Trial Championships.

This was my second "A" race of the season aside from the TTT championships which took place 3 weeks ago. Originally the ITT championships were slated for the last week of July but due to some scheduling issues were moved up to the 2nd week of June. Overall, this was a good move because it's when many people are still in peak condition from the road race season...however, having it so close to the TTT I had to decide which one to peak for the most. Since the TTT is a team event and it was my best chance at winning a championship I chose that one.

Regardless of peaking, I still felt pretty good for this race. I hadn't been able to ride outside much over the last three weeks because of all the rain here in Oregon. We had surpassed our monthly average in the first three days of the month so I got to continue my relationship with my indoor trainer for most of June.

Looking at the start list I knew I wasn't going to be able to win my division since two of the fastest TT guys in the state were in my division, however 3rd place was a very distinct possibility. Last year Karsten Hagen beat me by 2 minutes 34 seconds and Paul Boucier beat me by 2 minutes and 48 seconds. This year Paul was the 2nd rider off, I was the 4th to last rider and Karsten was one minute behind me (two riders).

With the start list in mind, my goal was to hold off Karsten Hagen off as long as possible. I really wanted to ride under 55 minutes this year, but the weather wasn't conducive to super fast times because of a strong headwind on the return trip. Other than the wind the weather was great with temps around 70 degrees at start time.

Once underway I felt pretty good. I was able to keep my HR in the mid 160 range all the way out to the turn around point, which is better than I've done all season. My average speed was also right around 29 mph at the turn around which meant the return trip was going to be hard. One bright spot is Karsten hadn't passed me yet, so I was doing well up to this point.

After the turn around I struggled a little getting back into a rhythm with the headwind. One of the guys I passed on the way out passed me back shortly after the turn around. However, this was a good thing as it gave me somebody to pace off of. He originally put about 10 meters on me, but I was able to match pace with him over the next mile or so, then we hit a wooded section with less wind and I closed the gap and eventually passed him again for good.

Back in a descent rhythm I was still going well. Around mile 18.5 Karsten finally passed me, which put him 1 minute up on me at this time. Again, this wasn't all bad because it gave me somebody to pace off of again. I was able to keep him within 30 meters or so for about 3 miles before he finally pulled away enough that I couldn't pace off of him any longer.

Coming into the final stretch I still felt OK and pushed it hard over the last mile heading into the finishing stretch around 27mph - 28mph, crossing the line with a time of 56:02. It was a minute slower than I wanted to run this season, but given the wind it wasn't bad.

The one bright spot was that I could compare my times against Paul and Karsten to see if I had improved over last year. Our time differences were: Karsten had 1:32 on me and Paul had 2:30 so I had made up some time over them from last year. Overall, everybody's times were a little slower than last year and it looks like on average they were about a minute slower overall.

My time of 56:02 was fast enough for 3rd in my division (40-44) which was also the 2nd fastest group on the I felt good knowing I gave it my best shot, performed better than last year and still came away with a medal. It's my first bronze medal, but now I have a matching set :D

For the most part my racing season is complete. I'm planning on doing a lot of base miles over the next two months, trying to get in 16-19 hours a week on the bike and just enjoy the ride for a while. I'm not going to specifically train for anything, but use hills for intervals and try and drop a few pounds. My next race will likely be the OBRA Road Race Championships where I'll race with the Masters. Then I'm thinking the Eugene Celebration road race to put a cap on the season.

For now's all about miles and enjoying the ride on the new frame :-)

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