Monday, March 25, 2013

As the Raven Flies

This past Saturday was the second race of the season for me: As the Raven Flies, which is the second race of the Oregon TT Cup.

The race is fairly short at just over 11.5 miles, but is a tough TT with around 600 feet of climbing in that distance. The course starts with a short 200 - 300 meter flat section, then turn right into a 150 foot climb that averaged around 7.5%. 

From there the course flattens out for a little while, then goes into a series of steep rollers where you end up going from one end of the rear cogset to the other constantly.

The course is entertaining in that there are a few high speed turns (40'ish MPH at the bottom of the first and last hill) and a couple of other sweepers.

All in all a very fun course, but hard to get a rhythm on.

Since I'm a bigger guy, the first/last climb and rollers take their toll on me during the race, but over time I've had descent results.

Warming up my legs felt OK, but the week leading up to it they were pretty dead from training camp last weekend. I had two days off the bike which helped, but they were still suffering a little (I had a 285 miles week with 15000 feet or so of climbing).

On the first climb they were still very sluggish and I think it could have been the slowest I've climbed it in any previous race. However, once over it, they seemed to feel better and I was able to carry a good pace on the flat sections (what few of them there were on the course).

Another aspect that made the race hard was 1 minute gaps between starts, so having carrots to chase was more difficult since riders were so spread out on the course. As the race went on I was able to catch my 1 minute man at around the 8 mile mark, which helped me push during the race as I could slowly see myself catching him as the race went on ... then I caught my 2 minute man on the final climb.

Overall ... a hard but good race. I finished with a time of 28:27 which is about 13 seconds off my PR on the course, however on that run I had 6 weeks of extra training and more racing under my belt and was also around 7 pounds lighter, so I'm pretty happy with the result.

I finished 2nd in my class again and had the 6th fastest time on the day of all classes (technically 7th but I'm not counting the tandem).

Next week is PIR, the 3rd race in the Oregon TT Cup. 

There is another Raven ITT next Saturday, but competing in two TT's on the same weekend is difficult. If the days of the races were reversed I'd do them both ... but the TT cup race is on Sunday and I don't want to burn my legs out the day before ... and I really like the PIR course due to it's overall speed (my fastest races of the year last year).

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