Energized by my riding in Europe and the Cheat Mountain Challenge, I decided to go out for the Ottawa Bicycle Club 15 km time trial once more, with the plan that I will go every week now instead of biweekly. I really want to break the 40 km/h average that has so far eluded me. I managed to get out of work early, pack up the Dreadnought and the wind-trainer, and got early to the parking lot at the Aviation Museum.
I had a very good 40 minute warm-up, and although I was a bit thirsty (it was a sunny day) at the start line I felt good. Out of the gate I felt like a turbine and after a km or so I looked down and saw that I was going 44 km/h, with a HR of 178. I very gently eased off and although my HR came down to my usual 165-9 the speed stayed pretty well the same. I also realized that I was riding into a very slight headwind/sidewind, which is unusual for this course. My cadence was high and I felt lots of power. I felt that I would easily beat my previous best time of 23:01, and I could once again be ahead of 71 year-old Hermann, who during my holidays had improved his time to 22:51 and was starting one minute behind me. Conditions were ideal.
Going up the little hill to the turnaround I did not lose much speed and the turn went well, as did the brief downhill where I was back up to 43 km/h or so. Following the gentle left curve it was apparent that I actually had a slight following wind and I was hammering along very nicely, with my 30-second man in sight, when at 10.6 km I was seized with a horrific cramp in my right calf, so bad I almost lost control of the bike for a moment. I had been on the road for exactly 15 minutes so I was figuring that with the following wind I had an excellent chance of coming in under 22 minutes but the cramp ended that. I had to back right off to keep from locking up and I was passed by the next two riders starting behind me. The cramp kept coming back and my speed was dropping way down but I kept on going. Of course I had begun to use the left side more so at around 13.5 km those muscles started to cramp as well. I crossed the line in a lot of pain at 24:32, but I was so focussed on keeping going I forgot to call out my number. As soon as I could walk again, I went back to the timekeeper who told me that I had crossed the line so slowly they did not think I had been racing and didn't take my time. Just as well, I guess, since it did not feel much like racing for the last third but some kind of ugly survival ride.
So this was a bust, but you always learn things on a ride. I have discussed what could cause the cramps with my coach and I think I may have a hydration or fuel issue since I seem to be doing everything else right. And for 2/3 of the course I enjoyed the excitment that comes from going really, really, really fast. Better luck maybe next week--this racing thing is hard! I will got a signed postcard of Fabian Cancellara to cheer me up.