Sunday 5 July 2009

Almonte Bicycle Club 40 km Open Time Trial: More Progress

After an hour's drive, I arrived in Calabogie feeling very rested in spite of having gotten up at 5:00 a.m. Conditions on the course were ideal for the time trial today with very little wind, and the turnout was quite big at around 45 participants.

I felt really relaxed and had a good 45 minute warm-up before rolling out to the start line, hoping to be possessed by the spirit of Fabian Cancellara. My launch was smooth and my new strategy of working on pacing meant that I tried to keep my heart rate around 158 bpm on the outward leg, which is uphill. There was a very slight headwind nibbling at the front of the bike but it was no big deal. I found this lower heart rate let me maintain a good speed without feeling too tired, and I made a serious effort not to chase down riders ahead of me but just slowly ride up to them. I passed one at 6 km and another at 15 (1 minute starts). At this point I was holding a speed of around 38-40 km/h but could not get much higher without feeling stressed.

The turnaround is difficult on this course as it is downhill on a narrow road but I shifted into the small ring, coasted through the turn and immediately spun fast up the climb coming back. I felt much stronger than I had previously on the course so now I added speed to bring my heart rate up to 163+. I was seeing lots of big numbers, with long drags at 45-47 km/h, and some of the downhills at over 60. At 60 minutes I had ridden 37.06 kms. I crossed the finish line at 1:04:02.

This was more than four minutes faster than last time but conditions were very poor then. A better comparison would be the rides I did last year: 1:06:10 and 1:06:18. This was also faster than the flat 40 km course I did in September at 1:05+. I was very conservative with the pacing today and am sure that I could increase speed on the return leg even more. Since I had always been pretty exhausted on the return leg, I had never noticed that it is markedly downhill. I also used my small chainring a lot more today and tried to spin up the climbs more quickly. A lot of extremely strong riders were out due to the excellent weather, so we had a dozen under 60 minutes, but I think my results were very encouraging.

Next Sunday there will be a flat 40 km time trial near Fournier so we will see if my pacing strategy will work there as well as it did today on 350 m of climbing.

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