Sunday, August 4, 2013

Today was the OBRA Time Trail Championships, a race I've been waiting for all season. I was really hoping to come into this race healthy, peaking and ready to roll ... sometimes, life gets in the way.

Two weeks ago I had a crash at a TT which I'm still recovering from. I still have a hard time taking deep breathes and my left hand still is far from recovered ... but the race was here, so it was time to get it on! I took some Alieve to help with the pain from breathing which helped, but didn't eliminate the pain totally.

I also don't feel like I'm in peak shape at this time, having missed a fair amount of training over the past two weeks and not getting in as much riding as I would have liked heading into the Championships. I didn't feel bad, but just not where I should be heading into a championship race.

On the bright side, when  warming up, I was at least able to get my heart race into the mid 150's which was better than two weeks ago. It's still low overall, but better than before, which means my body had recovered a little.

The course it's self was the same as years past, however the road had recently been chip sealed. Overall, it was in very good shape, but the chip sealing slowed the course down a lot compared to years past. It really appeared to have an effect on larger riders than smaller riders. I came to this conclusion by talking to riders and looking at finishing times ... lighter riders were much closer to last seasons times than larger riders. I'm guessing they rode over the chip seal while larger riders tended to sink into it a bit more.

We had a 6 - 7 mph wind from the north on the day, which meant a tail wind on the way out and a headwind on the way in, but in reality it seemed more like a tail/cross on the way out and a head/cross on the way in. It was a warm day however with temps in the mid 70's by start time (just before 11:00 am) and it warmed up a lot on course with the black, tar covered chip seal. A lot of people appeared to suffer from the heat today, especially considering the highs earlier this week were topping out under 70 degrees.

Once on course, I felt pretty good. I tried not to go out too hard and was able to get my heart rate into the low 160's. About 10 minutes into the race I was already starting to feel it and could slowly see my HR dropping over the next 10 minutes to the mid 150's. As I approached the turnaround and started to see riders again, it went back up a little ... so I'm guessing I wasn't pushing myself hard enough.

My HR continued to be in the mid 150's but the last quarter of the race, started to climb again as did my speeds, with the last 5 miles or so in the 160 range. Overall, I ended up with an average HR of 158 BPM, which is a good 5 BPM lower than what I would normally TT at, and 10 BPM lower than what I would run a 20k at.

Coming into the last stretch I caught a couple of racers in my category, so I knew I had an OK run even though I knew my time was slow.

At the end of the race, I thought I had finally beat the cramping curse that I've suffered from during this race, then about 20 seconds after crossing the line ... there it was. My left hamstring/glute cramped up and I had a hard time pedaling back to the start/finish area, but the more I pedaled the better it felt. It stayed cramped up for the next couple hours and is sore, but feels a lot better now that I'm 8 hours after the race.

In the end I ran a time of 55:57 which is about 1.5 minutes slower than last year and the first time in two years I've not run in the low 54 minute range. The end result was 3rd in category and 18th fastest 40k time on the day (most riders were 1-2 minutes slower than they expected).

With this one over, hopefully I can build a little fitness during the week as we head into the Uphill Championships next week. The course changed this season from Government Camp/Timberline to Larch Mountain ... which means a 1+ hour race instead of a 30 minute race like last year. The climb is 16.5 miles long and climbs about 4000 feet. I've climbed it once years ago and remember parts ... so it should be interesting.

More on that race next week.

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