I did my first race as a member of Velo-One this morning, as well as my first time trial. Officially, it's called the Frostbite Time Trial, probably because it can be frigidly cold here this time of year. While it certainly wasn't a balmy day outside Wellington where the tt was, it was definitely windy.
One of the joys of being on a team is spending time with teammates before, during and after the races. Last night, I drove to Ft. Collins to have dinner with teammates, and Bob, our humble leader, brought a start list for the tt. While the times of individual riders are only compared to others in their categories (I registered as master's 35+, and lean more toward the plus side...), you start in the order you registered. The first rider went off at 10:00, and all other riders followed at one-minute intervals. My start time was 11:53. And horror of horrors, I realized that Catherine, one of my VERY STRONG teammates, would start 6 minutes behind me.
Now, everyone says, "Oh, in a time trial, you're only racing against yourself." Well, that's just cr**p. Yes, physically, you leave the start by yourself and you are not allowed to draft off others as you do in a normal race. The mental reality, however, is that you know there are riders behind you, who started later than you did, and in order to maintain your self-respect as a competitor, you really don't want them to pass you.
This was my first time trial -- I've been racing for four years, but have only done road and circuit races. Additionally, I have been riding without a speedometer for a few months, so I really have no idea how fast I've been riding. And, honestly, I was never fast to begin with. So, I really didn't know how I was going to do. I did know, though, that Catherine was going to be a hammer, because, well, she is a hammer. At dinner, I let her know that if she passed me, I would simply drop my bike where she passed, and walk back to the start. Of course, I was kidding...but I was also "afeared and full of angst"!!!
I stayed the night at Bob and Stacy's house, and drove to the race this morning with Catherine. I'd hoped that, since she got a ride with me, if she did come up on my wheel during the race, she'd soft-pedal rather than pass, for fear that if she did pass me, she'd have to walk home. Thankfully, while she made up some time on me, she didn't pass me -- yay!
And, the tt was quite fun. It was 6 miles out and 6 miles back, and was on a service-type road that ran parallel to I-25. It had some very gentle rollers, and was faster on the way out -- I think my speed was between 20 and 24 mph on the way out (told you I wasn't that fast), but on the way back, it varied between about 11 (ack!!!) and 15 because it was so windy and it's a false flat. It had been windy on the way out, too, but while not a headwind on the way back, way more in-your-face. Thankfully, though, veteran Windburn racers had warned me of this, so I realized it was going to happen.
The trick in a tt is to go as hard as you can the whole time, but to ration your "go-as-hard-as-you-can" so you can keep it up through the end. Definitely a learned skill, but with the guidance of my coach (Chad Fischer) and teammates, I feel like I did pretty well for my first tt. My time was 40:27, and I was fourth in my category. Catherine's time was 37:something, (she raced cat 4)...thank goodness she didn't start 2 or 3 minutes behind me!!! And a young buck on our team, Matt, put in a time of 29:something -- major hammer!
Being that we're in one of America's bike training meccas, there were also some big time pros in the race today because they're between pro races and live in the area -- Tom Zirbel (Bissell), Georgia Gould (Luna Chix), and Meredith Miller (Aaron's). And it was also fun running into (figuratively, not literally, thank goodness...) some of the America's Dairyland riders I first met last year when I covered Central Valley Classic for VeloNews: Cari Higgins, Kate Ross, and a teammate I hadn't met, Clare Vlahopoulos.
Most importantly, a great time was had by all. And afterwards, we gathered at The Chocolate Rose, a great little cafe in Wellington, for lunch.
I'm not sure we got everyone who was there with the team, but this is most of us. Back, from left to right: Spence, Matt, Bob, Stacy, Glenn, me, Catherine, Ayn; and front, Bryson (in stroller, but dad Bob had already removed his stroller-aero bars), and Audrey.