photo by casey.marshall, Creative Commons
Today was the Ottawa Bicycle Club's traditional kick-off to the racing season: the Good Friday 15 km Time Trial. Last year the temperature was 2C and the wind was coming out of the northwest at 17 km/h. Today, eight days earlier in the calendar, it was 21C and the wind was out of the southeast at 15 km/h.
With weather so beautiful, it is no wonder that there was a massive turnout. The 122 riders who registered probably represented the single biggest time trial field that the OBC has had. There were lots of familiar faces and a whole lot of first-timers trying the Race of Truth.
Things started out well when I received my little medal for completing the 200 km brevet ride last year. But when I set up my wind trainer I found that it made so much nice that people complained. I suspect that after a winter of non-use, it needs lubrication, but it sounded pretty terrible. So I just did circuits in the National Aviation Museum until it was time for me to start. I was No. 49A, so it took a while.
I had estimated my time would be around 24 minutes and was seeded there but I noticed that some riders who were faster were sandbagging, and started quite a bit before me. I was worried that I was being a bit optimistic since my training this winter was not optimal and my weight is a bit higher than I like but it was such a beautiful day that I didn't care too much about my time.
After a good start, I ran into a much stronger headwind than I imagined and was seeing heart rate numbers that were pretty high. I gently backed off and concentrated on easing my way up to the cyclist who had started 30 seconds ahead. I could see him just ahead and felt that I had settled down nicely, although I was not seeing much more than 36 km/h. The new computer does not seem to like the disc wheel much as it would make sudden jumps up and down in speed, but the heart rate indicator and of course the elapsed time seemed accurate.
I saw my 30 second man approach the turnaround and I began to shift down. He made the turn but when I looked behind me I was annoyed to see three cars, two together and one further back, coming up. It was unsafe to turn and it seemed to take ages for them to get by me so I had to keep riding for some distance before I could turn. This is only the second or third time I have ever had issues with traffic during time trials on this road.
Needless to say, this did nothing for my concentration and I lost my rhythm, as well as probably a good 20 seconds, and when I finally headed back I did not see anyone ahead of me. Soon after I was passed by two other cyclists and then, nearing the finish, by a third one. But riding with a tailwind I felt that I was recovering from the exertion on the way out and I was able to push my speed back up to 40-41 km/h, and crossed the finish line at 44 km/h.
I looked down and saw that I had crossed the line at 24:35, which was identical, to the second, to the time I posted last year. This was an average speed of 36.6 km/h. This was slower than I liked, even if I could have deducted the 20 seconds lost to traffic, but for the first ride of the year was good enough. Now to lose some weight, pick up some power and get ready for when time trial season begins in earnest in May. Before I do my next time trial, I must remember to kiss the hem of the Team Saxo Bank jersey I have that was personally signed by Fabian Cancellara!