Monday, April 28, 2014

As the Raven Flies ... But Longer

This was the earliest I've raced a 40k (actually around 39.5k) and given that a lot of my training takes place on my commute to work, so no extended periods of threshold work, I wasn't sure how I would fair over the longer distance.

This course hasn't been used for about 9 years and I'd heard there were some bad sections of road on the course. Having arrived a little early, I decided to drive the course to see what to expect. At first I was more interested in the road conditions, but as I got into the hilly part of the course my mind turned to the high speeds and corners on some of the downhills.

Overall ... road conditions were not an issue, but I knew there were sections where 50+ mph in the aero bars were possible, which opens up a new set of "Oh Crap" issues.

The race was hilly with approximately 1500 feet of climbing and there were very few flat sections on the course. The longest climb was a little over a mile long with sections over 7%. Some people brought their road bikes thinking they would be faster due to the amount of climbing, but overall there were only a few small sections where using the horns was faster.

The race started with a nice 10-15 mph headwind ... so the out section was a little slower, but the wind was a little swirly causing sections of crosswinds and blowing people around on the road. It was more unsettling than anything, but you could feel it. On a couple of the downhills, I could feel the wind pulling on my helmet and if it were not strapped on, would have been pulled off!

With that said ... on the course, I was pretty accurate about speeds ... my top speed was 50.8 mph and I hit 50 mph a couple of times on the course, though I never had to get out of the aero bars on the descents.

Overall, I felt pretty good for the length of the course and was climbing a little better than expected finishing with an overall time of 1 hour and 5 seconds ... which was fast enough to win my class and have the 2nd fastest time overall on the day.

Losing weight has helped a lot with my climbing ... I weighed in at 189 pounds, at wake up, Saturday morning and saw 186 after my ride yesterday. I'm hoping to continue the weight loss and get into the mid 170's for the upcoming hill climbs. The next two TT cup races are hill climbs and I know I'll need to drop as much weight as possible before those.

The next race is the TTT, which I'm hoping we can put together a team for, which right now is looking "Iffy" ... we should be able to put together a winning CAT 3 team, but the number of people interested in racing or wanting to race in other races that weekend makes it difficult to get 3 other fast guys with TT bikes. Hopefully we can put something together because I know we will have a great shot at winning if we do.

If we can't ... my next race won't be until June unless I decide on a road race between now and then.

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