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  1. #1
    SSP
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    1.3 seconds per mile - my Time Trial Race Report

    My focus this year has been on time trialling, so for my first race of the year, I chose the Calaveras Road TT on Saturday, May 23rd, near Sunol, CA (between Oakland and San Jose, in the East Bay). The course was out and back, 10 miles long, with small rollers in the first 4 miles, and a 250' climb on a tree-lined road winding up the side of a ravine in the last 3/4 mile before the turnaround.

    It also featured wind – at the start, it was ripping at 7-15 mph from right to left, making me nervous about the Zipp disk rear and 808 front wheel. Those are good aero wheels, but they can also catch a lot of wind. And with 160 lbs of air in the tires the somewhat twitchy Cervelo P3C felt even more so as I warmed up. I thought about switching to my backup 404 wheels (less aero, but more manageable in cross-winds), but there wasn't time, and other riders were riding similar wheelsets as mine anyway.

    My start was good, and thankfully much of the road was lined by trees, which helped to block the wind somewhat. But every time the route went past a driveway entrance or open field, I had to work hard to keep control of the bike as wind gusts kept trying to blow me over.

    Other than the wind, the first 3 miles were uneventful. So I settled down into a low aero position for some quality time in the pain zone.*

    I might have gone out just a little too fast, because the climb in the last mile to the turnaround really put the hurt on me. In the last 100 meters before the turnaround, I was over the red line, and running low on gas. Thankfully, I could recover on the downhill (though I had to be cautious on the descent, because I'd not ridden the course previously).

    The race organizers had placed mile markers on the return leg, so when I saw there was only one mile to go, I kicked in the afterburners (hah!) and hammered as best I could to the finish.

    When I saw my time (25:19), I was a bit disappointed, because I was hoping for sub-25, but I also knew I'd ridden well, and hadn't left anything out on the course. Twenty minutes later, as they started posting results, I was pleased when my time was better than the first six posted.

    As it turned out, I placed 4th out of 20 in Masters 55+, missing third place by 13 seconds (or, per the subject line, 1.3 seconds per mile), and second place by just 23 seconds.

    Given the conditions and the competition, I'm very pleased with the results, and look forward to my next two races (Dunlap on June 7th, and the district championship in Sattley on the 14th).

    Thanks for reading this, and if anyone has any tips on how I can find an extra 1-2% more speed, I'm listening!


    * - Besides aerodynamics, and aerobic capacity and training, time trialling is fundamentally about managing pain and discomfort while going all out. Thankfully, after my first marriage, pain means nothing to me...
    Last edited by SSP; 05-25-09 at 10:27 AM.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Thank you for thinking that I might have some experience that could help you.

  3. #3
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I certainly cannot offer any advice as you're doing terrific. The one thing I would mention is more and more folks here are using the services of the wind tunnel to squeeze out those last few watts. It takes a couple hours as the techinicians try different helmets, stems, positions and other gear.

    For me, comfort is King for anything over 10 miles!!

    And like you did in this past event-I usually find myself either 4th or 5th. I just don't seem to be able to crack the top 3.......although you have a much better history with finishing higher and know the pain and effort it takes to get there!!

  4. #4
    SSP
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    Thanks for the encouragement.

    I'm hoping that another couple of weeks of interval training, and a few more bike fit tweaks, can get me another percent or two of speed, and hopefully a place on the podium.

    I'd love to be able to get a wind tunnel fitting, but none are nearby, and I've already spent quite a bit on tricking out the bike this season (having bought the 808 and a Q-Ring chainring on eBay recently, plus a pro fitting at the UC Davis Sports Medicine Institute down in Sacramento). Maybe next season...
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  5. #5
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP View Post
    I'd love to be able to get a wind tunnel fitting, but none are nearby, and I've already spent quite a bit on tricking out the bike this season (having bought the 808 and a Q-Ring chainring on eBay recently, plus a pro fitting at the UC Davis Sports Medicine Institute down in Sacramento). Maybe next season...
    The 808 is a great wheel. From my bud's experience-a really good fitter will get you very close to maximum wattage so I'm betting the interval work will get you where you want to be.

  6. #6
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're in fine form. I'm impressed with your time.

    See you at Dunlap. We'll be on the tandem. Be sure to wave as you blast past us.
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  7. #7
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rider View Post
    Sounds like you're in fine form. I'm impressed with your time.

    See you at Dunlap. We'll be on the tandem. Be sure to wave as you blast past us.
    Thanks!

    As for Dunlap - I'm signed up, but a bit worried.

    I broke my collarbone there last year when I went down in the last right hand corner of the course. With its 5 or 6 corners, the wind, the aging asphalt that's been beat up by heavy farm equipment, and the gravel and sand in some spots, it's pretty technical for a flat course.

    My goal this year is to have a good race, and finish with skin, bones, and bike all unblemished.
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  8. #8
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Great result and see you at Dunlap.

  9. #9
    SSP
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Great result and see you at Dunlap.
    Thanks...I'll be there.

    I rode the 40K course out at Sattley a couple of times today...despite it being spit flat, that course is tough!! The seams in the road in the first and last 10K are just brutal. I'm thinking about wearing a pair of bike shorts underneath my skin suit, just to soften the pounding from those %$#@ seams!

    The roads at Dunlap aren't great, but at least you're not taking a hit every second or so for 10K!
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