Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tsali ITT

SERC #2 and SCS race #4.
Today was the individual Time Trial.  The top finishers get points that count toward year end series points awards.  I'm mostly just racing it because a MTB ITT just seems pretty cool.  American Classic Pro Racer, Tanner Hurst, shows me around the 4(ish) mile course - one of the benefits of being on Robert Marion's Cycle Works team..  Tanners' bike flies through the air a bit more than mine.
We do a fast, gravelly down hill and then a sharp turn to the right that I almost blow through.  I stand my bike up on it's nose to get it woah-ed down.  A fast sweeping left follows.  It's loose and a BIG drop off awaits unsuspecting riders.  Gotta remember that one.  My rear wheel bottoms out on some of the rocks and roots.  Hmm - better add air.  The rest of the trail is pretty straight forward.  A few mud puddles, a bit of climbing, but mostly sweeping singletrack.

Start time.  The racers line-up by category and racers are set off at 1 minute intervals.  CAT 1 is first.  I don't know who most of the racers are here, so I'm not sure where I fit in speed-wise.  Not wanting to be in the way of any uber-fast riders, I pick a spot comfortably near the back.  From past results in the race it looks like I will need to finish in under 17 minutes to have a chance to win.

These are my thought as I get ready to push off:
I hope nobody catches me.
Don't worry about it, catch the guy in front of you.
I wish I had my power meter.
Don't forget the righthander at the downhill.
I hope I get clipped in.
My training schedule calls for an endurance ride today.
17 minutes of hammering won't hurt anything
Don't go out too hard.
Don't forget the loose lefthander with the drop-off
Don't think about the drop-off
5-4-3-2-1 GO!
Not too hard.
Pace yourself
My coach isn't gonna like this
I wish I had my power meter
Am I going hard enough?
Right hander - woah down.
Stand. Go!
I wonder if the guy behind me is catching me.
Quit worrying about it.  Catch the guy in front.
I wish I had my power meter.
Am i going too hard?
Don't forget the lefthander.
weight the pedals - roll the corners.
First climb.
This is kinda hard.
I should be about half-way.  Time 4:39.  Uggghhhh.
I went out too hard
I wish I had my power meter
Keep digging.
'Nother climb. Hammer it.  This is where I'm gonna make up time.
Ugggghhh.  This is hard.  I went out too hard.
I'm gonna end up walking this climb.
Dig.  Hammer over the top and keep digging.
Recover on the downhill.  Let the bike roll.
I can do this.
8:15.  Past halfway. 
Quit looking at the time.
Keep pedaling.
Be smooth.
Weight the pedals. Roll the corners.
Keep off the brakes.
Was that a snake?
Hammer the climbs.  Roll the corners.
If I ride tempo from here I'll be OK.
You didn't come here to ride tempo.  Hammer!
heart rate: 165.  My coach is gonna be upset.
I can't keep this pace up
I can do this for 3 more minutes.  Hammer
Heart rate: 167.  Threshold.
My coach is gonna be pissed.
Hey, there's my wife!
Remember to apologize for rushing her all day to get here on time.
Pedal harder.  Look smooth and in control for the camera.
Make the most of the last few minutes.
Parking lot ahead.
Hammer to the finish.
Last chance to dig.
Good.  Not great.
I can't breathe.
My coach is gonna be pissed.
I wonder if it's too late to pre-ride tomorrow's race course?

It wasn't.  I prerode a lap of tomorrow's course.  It's a really beautiful, fast, flowy trail.  When I finish it starts to thunder.  I meet my wife at the truck and it starts to rain a little bit as we load up and head for our Motel in Bryson City.  I really hope the trails stay kinda dry for the race tomorrow.  I've got some fast rolling tires on and it's gonna be ugly if it's muddy.  It's gonna be a little chilly for the 9:30 am start time tomorrow.  I'm supposed to ride at what's called "sweet spot" which is a bit slower than race pace, but good training for my longer races coming up.  If I can just stay focused on the big picture.  I wish I had my power meter...

See you on the trails!


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