I had a case of performance anxiety, for sure. Cgallagh let me sleep in and had coffee, a shot of espresso and steamed milk all ready. I made oatmeal and hardly tasted it. Gathered my stuff, he loaded the dogs and the bike and off we went.
It was cool when we got to Esparto and I was chilled. Met Velodiva and Hermes, visited portapotty, checked in. Saw a fellow club member and had pep-talk. Rode about 3 miles on side streets (no trainer) and called it good. Visited portapotty. Shed extra jacket, realized hubby went off to start w/o rolling up windows, rode & fetched keys, locked up truck properly, rode to start.
Got a great start and spent the first mile getting myself under control. I wanted to go out fast but had to pace -- it's 18 miles. Had songs in my head to sing and got right down to business. The course was very well marked, the day was clear, sunny, and there was a 6 mph wind (approx.) from the northwest, so going out gave me a tailwind.
I stuck to my plan and kicked it up a notch every 6 miles. After the turnaround (I was way slow so I boogied to get back up to speed) I found out that my lack of experience on this bike, with SRAM components, worked against me. Twice I upshifted when I wanted to downshift. I lost some time climbing the rollers, dammit.
The last 4 miles were marked every mile, so every time I saw a sign I started with a faster song in my head and went for it. That last mile I was in full-on sprint. I didn't even see the finish line, I had my head down and hammered along. Pulled up, checked my computer, it said 53 min. and change. Hmmm. I'd hoped for better, but hey, I showed up and rode my first TT, so it's a guaranteed personal best.
Found Velodiva and Hermes and hubby and much congratulating ensued.
Then I saw my official results: 51:31, 5th of 11 women. Whoo-hoo! I was surprised and pleased.
We came home and met a BF tandem couple, rode a 39 mile easy loop, then had a delicious meal with DBC Steve and stoker Terry. We missed Velodiva and Hermes; they took a rain check.
I'm hooked and can't wait to do another TT. I'm really happy with my results, as well as with the rest of the day, and will sleep like a babe tonight.
My thanks to all of you who offered advice. I appreciate that very much.
Just a note: If anyone had tried to tell me that at 52 I'd be into this kind of sport, I'd have laughed my *ss off. So never say never and be open to possibilities. This a way better kind of mid-life crisis to have than others of which I've heard.
Now, off to a well-deserved rest.