2007 Northern California /Nevada Time Trial Championships
June 10, 2007
Sattley, CA: 5000 feet elevation in the Sierra Mountains near Lake Tahoe
40K Flat terrain, rough roads, with a single turn around
Tandem Division Mixed 110+: 2nd out of a field of 3 with 2 no shows
Official results: Time 66:40
Since this race is a 4 hour drive from our house and we rode in the morning, we drove to Truckee, CA, near Lake Tahoe and stayed overnight. We went out to dinner and met another racing couple. The guy stoked on a tandem that won at Sattley and was interested in buying a racing tandem. It was a fun evening.
We got to the race 2 hours ahead to check out the site and sign in. For a district championship, the staging area was very spartan – no bands, no warm up cheerleaders, no guest dignitaries (Governor Arnold was not present) and no vendors, food or water. Everyone parked along the side of the road next to a pasture and there was a sign up table with 6 jiffy johns and a starting line. Bike racers just want to race, so we take this in stride with no whining. It was a beautiful day with the temperature 65 degrees. The wind was light and variable when we got there. We were hoping the weatherman and the wind advisory for Lake Tahoe were wrong.
While signing in, we met a couple who had planned to ride their Calfee tandem in our group, but the handlebar snapped off of the fork on a training ride . Fortunately, they did not crash. The stoker rode in the women’s 55+ 20K category that morning and set a new national record . She was planning to compete in the 20K TT and then join her husband to compete in our tandem division. They would have been first or second. They have the Calfee set up for racing with TT bars for the captain and the stoker.
We set up our trainer at our car and joined the other racers who were warming up. The wind started to blow harder. One of our Webcor teammates who just finished stopped by and said, “it is getting really windy on the course. You better save some for the end.” We finished on the trainer and went out on the road to check out the wind. It was now blowing at about 20 mph. We went to the start line and we were the first to start in the 110+ group. In all categories, there were 17 tandems competing with some of the teams competing in last week’s Dunlap TT. This start was “held” so we got a great fast start. In general, the roads in the Sierras are bad due to the chains and snow and this TT course is notorious for its ruts every 30 feet or so plus the asphalt can be rough. So every few seconds, there was a significant hit. The first thing we noticed, besides the bumps, was the slow pace of the riders heading to the finish line as they were buffeted by the wind. We accelerated to 25 mph and immediately began to be buffeted by cross winds with gusts. Many times I was turning the bike slightly into the wind. We made a slight turn and picked up some tail wind and our speed increased to 28 mph. Soon, we were soon cruising at 30 mph. I was constantly looking for smooth road. We got to the 20K turn around in 28 minutes ~ 27mph average – but we knew the best was yet to come. When we turned around and started back we entered a world of swirling, gusty wind that would torture us for the remainder of the race . The wind slowed us down to 21 mph. We continued and the wind went from cross to right in our face. It was now really blowing and dropping us down to 17 mph at times. We would fight back up to 20 to 21 mph. We kept our mental focus and power up but the relentless wind and gusts up to 37 mph wear you down. Another feature of the course is the ability to see the finish line when it is far away. While you are suffering and being tortured by the wind, you can see your progress and know how much longer this must go on and sometimes it is best not to know. We crossed the line and I was dead tired both physically and mentally. The 5000 feet of elevation also took its toll. Last week, we were able to get our HRs up to max minus 5 beats. This week, the best was about max minus 12 beats.
Even with the wind, the race was a lot of fun and we met new people and certainly learned a few new things about time trial racing and ourselves – 40K is a long way at full power. We will be back next year.
Monday…we both feel pretty good today. For the first time, I feel like I could race again today , but I will focus on recovery.