Today’s time trial was a little different. I wasn’t supposed to race today because I’m at peak training for my A and B races that are very close together. So, long zone 2 ride was on the schedule instead, by long I mean FOUR hours. Ugh…I mean…I LOVE cycling, wohoo!
Let’s back up for a moment. I’m doing a local time trial series of 7 races. Your best 5 scores are used in the series standing, if you finish at least 5. I’ve been advocating for women’s attendance and women’s cycling this year. I’m determined to have a better and deeper turn out for this series and what better way to make a change than to do it yourself. For two years it hasn’t been a priority and has meshed with training so this year my coach lined the time trial series to double as my FTP tests. I unfortunately had to miss the fifth race due to fires, which I am sensitive to.
A friend and mentor was hit by a drunk driver two and half weeks ago and it reminded me more than ever that life is short and anything could happen. It may be a silly reaction but I didn’t want to leave everything down to finish the last race in September. This isn’t out of fear, but wanting to be prepared and following through. I wrestled with myself deciding if I even could hold back enough and if I should do it. The biggest hold up was my ego. I didn’t want a slow time of zone 2 on the series results. I also didn’t want to loose. In the end I decided this would be a lesson in self control. My coach let me do the time trial at zone 2 to officially qualify for the time trial series.
There’s construction on the normal Belmont course (named after the street). For July and August the time trial was moved out to the Friant course (again named after the street). Unlike the completely flat Belmont course, the Friant course has a hill right before the turn around cone. One third of a mile for three percent sounds tiny but that’s pretty big for a flat series. All in all the course has a left hand turn crossing traffic, a hill, and 150 ft of gain. Most participants average .5-1 mph faster on this course compared to the flat Belmont course.
Originally I was going to park 10 miles away and ride to the start as a warm up. It was suggested I don’t worry about my race number and just head out for the rest of my ride right away. I was running behind, so I parked near the start and did a 5 mile warm up instead. The game plan today was to keep my watts on the upper end of zone 2 and absolutely not get out of zone 3. This presented a whole new challenge of trying to push zone 2 to it’s limit and see how fast I could go with out going above 155 watts. The key today would be a high and smooth cadence and keep my head in the right place.
There were three women today, the three that are now qualified for the series. The organizer placed me as the third cyclist to take off. I had mixed feelings about this. Normally a “rabbit” to chase and a person within eye sight is great but in this case I had to stay in my zone and let the competitiveness drop away. In the first 4.5 miles I had 2 or 3 guys pass me. I lost count since they whizzed by me so fast. I don’t normally feel like I’m standing still next to them but today was different. “Just be consistent and be good today” is what I kept telling myself. At 5 miles we hit the hill. I didn’t worry about my watts and just focused on smooth pedal stokes and high cadence. About half way up the hill before the course turn around I passed the second woman to go off, which meant I was 30 seconds ahead of her at this point of the race. Now it switched to maintaining my downhill speed as long as possible, this was my strength and I’d keep my speed up as long as possible. It took two miles to drift from 32.2 mph down to 20-21 mph but was able to maintain that in about zone 2 for the rest of the “race”.
After the finish line I was able to catch up to the the woman who was sent off first and chat for a bit as we looped back around to the finish tent. I have never felt this fresh after a time trial which was a good sign. I’m so grateful to have Terri out here. On most days she pushes me a little harder which in turn makes an FTP test much easier to do. For today, thanks for being a friendly face, a few laughs, and joining me for part of my long ride to follow.
Results of the time trial were an average of 161 watts and 20.9 mph. That translates to low zone 3 instead of high zone 2 but all in all I’m happy with my efforts. However, I do hope the results drop off from the series standing after finishing September’s race.
I’m not going to include a break down of standings today since I couldn’t race at threshold but all of the time trial results are listed here if you’re curious.
Special thanks to my bike sponsor Rubber Soul for always keeping my ride in tip top shape, Coola for keeping my skin protected with top quality sunscreen, and Betty Designs for keeping me decked out in the best apparel. Photo credit: Brooks Bikes
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