Well, I decided to put my triathlon skills to use and compete in the provincial time trial at Plattsville this past weekend. Off the back of my solid race at Guelph, I had high hopes that I could be competitive with this group. Last year's winning speed was 42km/hr over 37kms, which I thought was achievable.
Now one thing you need to know about racing is that some organization called the UCI (union cycliste internationale) rules all things cycling and in particular has some (in my view) peculiar rules around time trial bike set ups. So while I can use my road bike for these efforts, the reality is that maximum speed is achieved by using a time trial bike (or triathlon bike). The difficulty are the restrictions, the two main ones being that the nose of your seat must be 5cm behind the middle of your bottom bracket (my normal setup is for the nose of fizik arione tri seat to be 3cm ahead) and the distance between the nose of the seat to the end of your aero bar cannot exceed 75cm (or 80cm with special requests) mine was 81.
So Paul Parker at hello velo, switched out my seat and put on a ISM saddle (weird looking but has a short nose) to get the set back, but we had no answer for the aero bar. I basically had to resort to begging the OCA official to let me compete in the race with my "non-compliant" bike. Thank goodness he relented. Paul also switched out my rear wheel and had me run a disk in the back, this ended up causing some problems as my gearing didn't quite mesh smoothly.
So on Sunday I headed to plattsville, just west of guelph to race. The day was nearly perfect, somewhat overcast and temps around 20 degrees. The wind was up a bit, but nothing to get excited about.
Every racer of every talent should do a race of truth at least twice a year, once at the beginning of the season and once at the end. This gives you a great indication of the kind of fitness that you have built over the summer.
As most of you know, the time trial is just you against the clock. In this case the race was for 37kms, it was an out and back, with a sweeping right turn, some rollers but mostly just hammering straightaways. It is really neat to climb up onto the ramp, have the holder grab your bike and you climb on (note to self, make sure the holder has a good hold on the bike so you dont almost fall off the ramp!!) ready for the count down.
5,4,3,2,1 buzz, and you are off. I raced the front half of the race very conservatively. I tried to keep the heart rate under 155. I figured I would need to avg 42km/h for the entire raoe to have a chance at placing high. As I hit the turnaround, I had gained about 30 secs on the rider in front of me (they release a rider every minute), unfortunately as I rounded the turnaround I noticed the two riders behind me were on my tail, which meant I had given up at least a minute to one rider and two minutes to the other. Now was the time to turn on the jets.
I pushed hard after the turnaround and just kept focusing on the "rabbits" in front of me. I managed to pick off three riders and had not yet been passed. This is the interesting thing about time trials. You never know what the strategy of the other riders has been. If they blasted out of the start gate and went anaerobic for the first 18kms, there wont be much left in the tank. I still had some in the tank and so I just kept turning it over and pushing my effort to the redline. With about 1.5km left, I could feel a rider on my left. I was about to be passed. I picked it up and tried to stave him off but to no avail. Once he passed, I could sense him pull off the gas a bit, so I started to push harder (other than pride, the positioning now is irrelevant, because i cannot make up the minute I have lost to this rider) and worked to regain my position and to try and catch another rider that was just ahead of us. Well, I did manage to regain my position and hold it to the finish, although i didnt overtake the other rider.
the results were decent, 15th place in masters 3 (of 58 riders), 54:38 for 37kms which equates to an average speed of 40.63km/hr. The winner was a blistering 43.9km/h.
A good experience and a great test of your individual ability, just you and the bike.