Monday 11 May 2009

Race Report: May 7 Ottawa Bicycle Club 15 Km Time Trial

We have had unsettled weather recently and I was worried that there would be thunderstorms but when I arrived at the parking lot it looked good, albeit humid. During the warm-up the rains did in fact show up and I got pretty wet but just kept at it anyway. By the time I was done on the trainer the rain had ended and we were getting very mild temperatures. There were about 74 riders in all, including some newbies--including one who was seeded ahead of me.

At the start, I realized there was a slight headwind, the opposite of what we invariably have, so I decided to change my game plan and push hard at the start and then use the tailwind after the turnaround. I had an excellent launch and brought up the power very smoothly, seeing some good numbers (40-42 km/h) on the computer. I passed my 30-second man about 4 kms into the ride and just kept churning on. My heart rate was quite steady at a surprising 168 bpm.

I passed two more cyclists and then began the climb to the turnaround, where I ran into more headwind and saw the speed fall off to around 35-37 km/h. Unfortunately, at the turnaround I could not cross over due to four cars passing and I had to slow down quite a bit. This was very irritating as I had barely passed the 11 minute mark, making this my fastest outbound ever. On the downhill I accelerated up to 49 km/h and tried to regain my concentration but on the return leg I found it hard to focus. Furthermore, the hoped-for tailwind was pretty invisible. I was starting to hurt a bit but morale was boosted when I passed several more riders and was able to accelerate again until I got to the last 2 kms, where the pavement is pretty rough.

At 800 m I felt pain in my right calf and then it cramped very badly. I had to drop down about four gears to keep going and after I crossed the finish line I had trouble pedalling back to the car for the cool-down as my muscles were seizing so badly. My final time was 23:17, which put me 8th out of 12 in my age group but quite a few of the people ahead of me were new to the race and appear to be ringers from other teams. And Hermann the German beat me by 10 seconds, so I have to do something about this. I did manage to beat the other 70+ racer, even though he too is usually faster than me.

Bad news: well, obviously, the cramping. It was still sore when I rode into work on Friday morning. The turnaround traffic was beyond my control so not much I could do about that.

Good news: I think I have become faster over the winter. Without the cramping and the long delay at the turnaround, I probably would have gained a good 30-40 seconds. This is only the first week of May, and the first serious time trial (1:15 faster than the Good Friday ride), and my time is not far off of my June/July results, although we had a wet road and high humidity. Secondly, the bike fit was better but could still be improved by moving the seat up and back a bit more. The bike felt pretty comfortable and I am getting happy with the positioning. Thirdly, the launch was nearly perfect and I reached a steady HR of 168 bpm pretty fast. The highest HR I saw was 177, and the average, including a 2 km cooldown, was 158 bpm. This suggests I was well-rested since the numbers are quite high.

Although I was quite certain I was on the way to a PB before the cramping, to feel this good so early in the season, and only in the second race with this bike, is pretty positive. I think perhaps I will ask my Coach of Cruelty to amend my training program so that I do a long interval at race speed on the return leg of the course, where I always seem to have the worst problems.

Not quite Fabian yet but I think I will get to the 40 km/h level very soon. This is one of my New Year's Resolutions--as to the others, I have met my weight loss goal of 74 kg and increased my strength training results (although those 100 push-ups still look a long way off!). And I have raced every time trial offered by the club this year!


sarah said...

Well done!! Hope you don't have the cramps or cars in the way next time!

Pedalman said...

Great result even with the cramping and turnaround issues. Seems as if the winter training helped quite a bit. You'll be surpassing that 40km/h goal really soon.

Sprocketboy said...

I am very eager for next Thursday and what I hope will be an excellent result! My coach has suggested that I add some salt to my fluid intake before the race and I hope that this will take care of the cramping.