After a week of excellent weather, I was looking forward to last night's 15 km time trial. It has been several weeks since I was able to do one and I thought my training had been going well. There was another excellent turnout. It was quite hot (29C/84.2F), and when I was warming up I was pretty worried about the wind but it died down a lot by the time I got on the course.
I had a very good launch and pushed hard to take advantage of the tailwind. I was up around 47 km/h but I thought it would be good to back off a bit since my heart rate was pushing 180. As I slowed down to a sustainable 42/43 it was obvious that there was actually no tailwind at all but a slight crosswind/kind of headwind. So I just kept on riding as steadily as I could. I could make out my 30 second man after about 6 kms. I was making excellent time, although a very fast rider overtook me just near the turnaround.
On the way back there was a bit of a headwind for sure and I could not hold much over 38 km/h on the way back and felt pretty tired near the last bridge. My time was 23:03, which was a bit of a disappointment as I thought I could go under 23 minutes. But what was very odd was my heart rate. On the launch it hit 179 and never really came down. I saw 173 for most of the ride, and even counting the five minutes of slow riding after my average HR was still 164 bpm. I wonder if I have been underestimating my max HR or exactly what happened here. No cramping and my first 10 kms was actually very fast at around 15:30 so if I can just improve the finish I should have a much better time. As it is, this was my fastest so far this year and my third-fastest ever, with an average of 39.05 km/h.
I think that the high temperature during the ride (and it was around 7:00 p.m that I began) affected me as I woke up this morning with some symptoms of heat exhaustion. As usual, I always forget something in the excitement of the time trial and I did not put my bandana (or, as Bikesnoby NYC calls them: Euroschmatte) on under my helmet to help deal with the heat. Live and learn, I guess. At least this time I remembered to put on my gloves.
I plan to be faster next week and the following week. After that we lose our course due to repaving, alas, and the tt will be reduced, probably to 10 kms. This might be a good training opportunity to raise my speed by hammering a shorter distance. It will also be entirely on a smooth road. I am sure that I lose a lot of speed due to the first and last 2.1 kms of the present course which is very rough.
Of course, if you want to read about a real time triallist, check out Jered Gruber's excellent summary of the Tour de Suisse's final time trial here.