I enjoyed my first 40 km time trial of the season today, participating in the Almonte Bicycle Club's race in Calabogie. This was my third time on the course, which has to be one of the most interesting time trial stretches around. With more than 300 m of climbing, there is a lot to look at and take your mind off the suffering a bit.
It is a bit of a drive, so I got up at 5:15 a.m. and drove out of the garage less than an hour later. The weather looked iffy--it was quite cool (around 7C) and there were evil black clouds on the western horizon. By 7:20 a.m. I had joined the group in the parking lot, registered and set up the trainer for the warm-up.
Just before the launch, I heard a little "ching" sound and looked down to see my chain fall onto the smaller sproket! Too late to do anything, I started off on the course and fooled around for a few seconds getting the recalcitrant chain back where it belonged but was up to speed very quickly. There was a nice tailwind which cheered me up and I managed the first hills very well, and really enjoyed the descents. On one of them I was going over 62 km/h but I knew that I would pay on the way back for this. I passed the rider who started a minute ahead of me quite quickly and then slowly reeled in several others before the turnaround. This is where the fun began as I ran into a very strong headwind and saw my happy 38-40 km/h speeds drop down rapidly. The hills began to hurt a lot and at Km 30 I was passed, and then again at Km 32, by two really fast riders. Although they got past me and down the road their gap stayed constant so I figured they were having trouble accelerating as well.
My heart rate, which had been around 163 bpm on the way out, dropped down to 155 or so on the return and that was all I could manage. My head was throbbing with the exertion and I was very relieved to get back over the finish line although my time was some two minutes slower (I think) than the best of the two time trials I did on this course last year, albeit with much less wind.
I cruised back very, very slowly to the parking lot and soon everyone was assembled to hear the times. To my surprise, I managed a Top Ten finish (or perhaps Top Eleven, since there was a bit of confusion). (Oops--official numbers are now in and I have cascaded down to Lucky 13, alas). On the way back, I stopped with two fellow Ottawa Bicycle Club members who often ride the Thursday time trials and we celebrated our race with fancy coffees and apple cinammon muffins in Burnstown. And the rains came down, so we were doubly lucky. No Personal Best time for me at 1:08:19 but I had a lot of fun.
Probably more fun than Denis Menchov did today at his time trial at the Giro d'Italia, but it all came out in the end. The mechanic should be given a big bonus for his work today:
And here is an update from Pezcyclingnews.com:
After the crash, the directors drove off and left Mechanic Vincent Hendrik with the old bike, so he jumped on and rode it the final 600m to finish with a police escort. In his own words he said, "I was the last rider to finish the centenary Giro. That's something that you don't forget!"
Hendrik also said that it was his best day as a mechanic in 10 years of working with Rabobank (3 with the continental team and then 7 with the Professionals).