Friday 20 June 2008

Time Trial: Getting A Bit More Serious

In spite of the wretched weather in Ottawa I have been trying hard to get in my training for today's 15 km (9.32 miles) Ottawa Bicycle Club time trial but I was annoyed when I looked out my office window this afternoon to see yet another massive rainstorm. I had gotten soaked on the ride home yesterday and did not want to repeat the experience, either on the commute or on the time trial course. But by the time I rode home things had improved weather-wise so I put the disc wheel on Dreadnought and the Garneau Rocket helmet on my head and headed to the start line.

A lot of people must have been put off by the weather since it was the smallest crowd I saw in any of my three OBC time trials. I signed in early and went off on the bike path to warm up. That went well enough but I could not get much speed, so I came back on the parallel road, which I discovered was filled with awful potholes. Dreadnought is pretty stiff as it is and the disc wheel makes it even more so but adding the lurch and shudder of this terrible road was a miserable experience. I had hoped to avoid it, but it looks like I will have to bring my car and fluid trainer in two weeks and warm up properly in the parking lot since the roads are quite unsuitable.

I slotted myself into the right spot at the starting line. An older gentleman positioned in front of me said: "So you are Number 19. You're the one I am going to have to stay ahead of!" I laughed and said that now I was under pressure to catch him. Which I was anyway, of course. Since I did a much better time trial last time compared to my first effort I was now starting further back, near the Serious People, and I was concerned about being reeled in myself.

This time I had a good start and quickly wound the bike up to 45 km/h (28 mph) from the launch. My HRM was acting a bit wonkey as it is wont to do and showed 225 bpm but once it settled down it was showing a more believable 174. I gently dialed back the speed and maintained a steady 40-42 km/h (24.8-26 mph), with a slight tailwind.

I was going quite well, I thought, and passed my 30 second man at around Km 4.5 (2.8 miles). As I approached the small climb near the turn I could see my speed fall off a bit but I shifted down and spun faster to keep my heart rate reasonable and my speed up.

The turn went very well and I quickly dropped down the little hill at 49.3 km/h (30.6 mph) and when Gravity was no longer my friend I carefully held the speed at 38-39 km/h (23.6-24.2 mph) into a very slight headwind. I could feel that I was beginning to tire a bit more and fooled around a bit with my gear selection to optimize my speed.

With the finish line in sight my right calf muscle decided to seriously cramp and I lost some time. Furthermore, I could not push up into the big gear for the dramatic finish I like so much but I still managed to get in a decent ride, taking off an estimated 40-45 seconds from my time of two weeks ago. This puts me ahead of the 71 year old in the Club but still not quite under 23 minutes. It was very intense and I could feel the strain this time, although I am pretty sure that I can go faster still, especially if I can warm up properly and avoid cramping. I reckon that my average speed en route was 38.9 km/h (24.17 mph), so I think the magic 40 (24.9) average is within reach. Incidentally, last week someone rode the course averaging 47.6 km/h (29.6 mph)!

I rode back home to a celebratory spaghetti dinner and now feel on the verge of collapsing. Luckily tomorrow's recovery ride will pose no challenges!


Donald said...

Congrats on your improved time. I have to say... when I read your posts like thisone... it pushes me more into wanting to try a real race.

Judi said...

Can you explain in meters, miles?

Sprocketboy said...

Judi, your wish is my command. Metric is better since you get bigger numbers!