Saturday, May 15, 2004

Mutual of Enumclaw Stage 1

The first stage, an individual time trial, is history. How did I do? I have no idea. :)

I arrived in Enumclaw at about 7:15 am. The first rider was scheduled to go at 8:00, but there were 100 riders, leaving at 30 second intervals. When the start times were posted I found my name: 8:42:30. To kill time, I just hung out and warmed up on a stationary trainer.

When my number was approaching I went over to the starting area and lined up. When you're up, someone holds your bike for you so can can lock in both feet. They give you a nice 5,4,3,2,1 countdown and off you go. I have to say, the race was extremely well organized. Numbers were called in advance so you were in line at the right time and people went off every 30 seconds like clockwork.

Following various advice I heard I tried to not "blow up too early". At the same time, a time trial is an all out effort. I've also heard "leave it all on the course". I'm not sure any of this was particularly helpful and I'm still trying to figure out if those two statements are contradictory. As I got going I noticed my heart was running a bit higher than I was expecting. Maybe it was nerves, the cold, I'm not sure. I could not get my heart rate below 165 without significantly slowing down. I ultimately settled into a pace with my heart in the 168 - 171 range. Running at this pace does not feel good at all. On a training ride I usually stay in the 150's and only hit numbers like that on hills.

Judging your performance is difficult, but there are a couple good indicators. You can usually see the guy who started 30 seconds before you and see if he is pulling away. Also, there is someone 30 seconds behind. If you get passed, well, that tells you something. I got passed (by just 1 person). Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily, but it is quite demoralizing. I guess I'll know for sure when I see the results sheet.

As I said going into this, it's really a learning experience. So what did I learn? First, trust your instinct on clothing. I took off my tights just before starting and my legs were freezing. Second, drive the course. The first time I saw the course was when I raced it. I'm sure I could pick up a bit of time if I knew what to expect. Finally, figure out why my heart rate was so high. It even seemed high when I was warming up beforehand. Maybe it has something to do with riding early in the morning. I've never done that before.

Anyway, this afternoon is the criterium. I need to go take the aero bars off my bike and get it reset to a normal riding position.

If you're curious, here is a map of the time trial course. I don't have an elevation profile, but it was quite flat.


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