Yesterday was the OBRA State Championship Team Time Trial, my favorite race of the season. I love this race because it's a true "Team" event since you can't race without a team, you can't place without a team and you definitely can't win without a team.
The other reason I love this race is flat out speed ... It's rare that you will cover the same distances at the speeds you can reach with in a TTT.
It took a little while to get a team together this season due to so many races this weekend: Banana Belt #3, Krugers Kermesse (who puts a Cyclocross in May 3 months away from the start of the season???) and several MTB races this weekend. A lot of people wanted to race the CX race and wanted to be fresh for it, thus skipping the TTT ... such be life!
Once we had our team together, we were able to get in two practice days before the race, which was good because it gave us a good idea of where each rider was at fitness wise and helped put together rotation order and duration's of pulls.
Our plan was to have fast rotations for the first half of the race, keeping them short but fast (in the 30-45 second range), then at the point we turned west, evaluate how each person was feeling and make adjustments to pull lengths.
For the first 4 miles, this worked excellent ... then we hit a short hill and I gapped my teammates, having to slow back down a little, which was fine because we were heading into a tight S-Turn where we needed to be careful and back off a bit speed wise.
Once we came out of that section we had two quick turns then a long 4 mile straight where we got back into good rotations. Nearing the end of the long straight we came up on our 1 minute team, catching them. I pushed hard to get past them and kept going, then looked back and I had again gapped my teammates who were still next to the other team, so I backed off a little to get the team back together.
At this time we made a rotation order change to help a teammate who was struggling to hold my wheel, putting a teammate who was feeling better behind me, giving the other rider more of a draft at speed for better rest between pulls.
Around the corner at the end of the straight we started to "Log Jam" a little with other teams. We had us, our 1 minute team then their CAT 1/2 squad came up behind us ... so we had three teams together over a short 1.5 mile section.
Making the turn back to the finish we were still all together, but their CAT 1/2 team slowly pulled away. Ourselves and the 1 minute team switched positions for a couple miles, neither really able to gap the other ... eventually we were able to stretch the gap out to about 10 seconds.
With around 2.5 miles left one of our teammates was spent, went to the front and took as long/hard of a pull as he could and pulled off letting the rest of us go for the line.
Crossing the line we had a time of 50:32 over a distance of 23.8 miles (28.3 mph average) ... Before the race, depending on conditions I was guessing we could cover the distance in around 51 minutes ... so I was pretty close and underestimated what we could do.
Looking back, I think there was definite room to improve and could have shave time off in multiple areas.
In the end we were able to win the CAT 3 Championship beating the next fastest team by 1 minute and the 3rd place team by just over 1 minute. It took a lot of work and team work to accomplish and my teammates were awesome during practice and during the race ... Rob, Doug and Brett ... you guys are awesome!
Now that I have a Championship under my belt this season ... I got home and ordered my jersey last night :)