Impromptu "Tuesday Night Time Trial"

>> Wednesday, June 03, 2015

About a week before this time trial, the thought entered my mind that it could be a good final "push" just 4 days before Duathlon Nationals. "But would 13-14 hilly miles ALL OUT be too much too close to Du Nationals?" I looked up the time trial website and saw they dropped it down to 10 miles and changed the route again this year. (That makes 4 different courses [all on the same roads] in the last 6 years or so.) I thought 10 miles sounded less likely to kill me and easier to recover from in 4 days, so I decided a few days ago that I'd do it.

I had to keep telling myself one thing: I didn't want use the upcoming duathlon as an excuse to back off a little bit. I didn't want to be hurting 3/4 of the way through the TT and think "You know, my legs are pretty tired. I have that race in 4 days. I should back off from 100% to more like 98.5%." NOPE. Couldn't do that. The only reason to do a TT is to go ALL OUT. I had to keep reminding myself of that.

Yesterday morning (the day of the TT), I Instagrammed this:

"Getting the trusty steed all cleaned up for tonight's impromptu time trial."

Pharmie got home from work to watch the boys, and I took off for the race. The biggest downside to this event is that it's across town during rush hour. It took me nearly an hour to go 23 miles. But I knew I was getting close when...

It was breezy out there. The wind was mainly out of the south, and we were getting ready to ride an out-and-back that was east/west, but people who had been out riding said that we'd mainly feel the wind on the way back. Brother-in-law Matt was out there finishing up a ride, and he confirmed that too. Speedy Leah mentioned that going down "the hill" near the turn-around was a little gusty and scary.

I got lined up and took off. I had no goal but to push like mad throughout. Well, honestly, if it hadn't been so breezy, I was hoping to set a PR here. My best average here was back in 2010 of 23.01 mph (as I was getting ready to set an Oly Tri PR the next month). But with the wind last night, I wasn't holding my breath.

I set my Garmin to take splits every mile. My first mile clicked over in 2:23. "Whoa. That's a 25.2 mph opening mile starting from a dead stop!" I wasn't planning on breaking that split, but then my 3rd mile was 2:18! I knew this was a little "wind aided," but I was hoping to hit the turn-around and keep the effort high. Matt grabbed a photo of me as I rode past the parking lot around mile 1.5:

Climbing a little hill. There's always a hill on this course.

Close up.

Oh, and in a nod to first time trial nearly 6 years ago, I wore the same outfit:


I did that thing that I like to do where I note my overall average speed every quarter to "check in." Here's how it started:

• Mile 2.5 (1/4 done): overall average of 23.8 mph. Nice. Biggest numbers I've ever seen.

• Mile 5 (1/2 done): overall average of 23.9 mph. This JUST knocked down from 24.0 which is INSANE speed. But I had just come down "the hill" and now had to watch my speed drop as I worked back up it. Here's a photo from a 2010 time trial that shows me and "the hill" in the background:

That was when we finished coming down the hill. Last night, it was our turn-around.

My slowest mile on the way out was 2:49 (21.2 mph), but my first mile on the way back up that hill was 3:08 (19.1 mph). The wind wasn't totally in our faces on the way back, but based on the trees next to the road or the angle we were going, it could be better or worse at any moment.

• Mile 7.5 (3/4 done): overall average of 22.9 mph. I was well aware that my best TT was with a 23.01 mph average, and I was digging deep to see if I could hit that on this breezy night. I usually note that I could have pushed harder about 3/4 through any given race, but I was actively thinking about that and making sure I was pushing HARD.

The last mile was an extended uphill section that then opened up by a little pasture at the top where we could feel the breeze in our face. And then we slowly curved even more head-on into the wind. Damn it. I was trying to push, but my legs were done. I had given a good effort.

• Finish: overall average of 22.8 mph.

I Instagrammed this with the caption "2nd fastest time trial average EVER on a breezy night!
(And look at that mile 3 speed!) Next: Duathlon Nationals in 3.5 days... time to rest."

Garmin data: elevation in gray (much worse than it looks),
and speed in blue (better indication of elevation).

Here were my mile Garmin splits: 2:23, 2:49, 2:18, 2:37, 2:22, 3:08, 2:33, 3:00, 2:25, 2:39, and 0:11 for the final 0.07 mile.


23.1 mph
5 out of 12 in the 30-39 age group
30 out of 40 in the "open male" class.
35 out of 64 overall

I'm not sure how it was figured that I got a 23.1 mph average in the official results. (UPDATE: they must have called the course 10.2 miles, which would give me a 23.094 mph average, or rounded up to 23.1.) My 5 other "Tuesday Night Time Trial" rides were 23.01, 22.77, 22.65, 22.54, and 22.16 mph. So on paper, this was my fastest at 23.1 mph. But in reality, it was my 2nd fastest at 22.8 mph (according to my Garmin).

I'm most proud of my placing yesterday, and that helps show that I'm in good bike shape right now. This was a new TT course (and a breezy night), so I can't compare my past times. But in terms of how I placed, this was a good night. Last year, I was 12th out of 15 in my age group, and yesterday I was 5th out of 12 - that's a big jump! Last year I was nearly in the bottom quarter, finishing 54th out of 81 overall. But last night I was nearly in the top half finishing 35th out of 64 overall. (Maybe everyone I beat last year just didn't show up last night. Ha!)

Resting now, and getting ready for Duathlon Nationals on Saturday! More on that tomorrow.


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