Monday, August 9, 2010
3 weeks and 3 chances to inflict pain
I'm a bike racing whore. There. I admit it. If someone asks me to race - despite never having done an event - or a whole discipline - I'll likely say yes. Just don't try and get me into triathalon gear... yet. Such was the case a few weeks ago when a friend from the Velo de Mer group asked if I'd do a Team Time Trial. I had toyed with the idea last year, but never could get it on the schedule. This year I could - and did. I thought "hey, bolt on some clip-ons and don an aero helmet - and presto! I'm good to go. Well, our in house TT and Track pro, Mr. Jamie Ryan White would have none of it - and threw his tricked out factory KHS TT bike at me, and a spare set of wheels - as if the deep section front wheel and disk rear wheel with tubulars weren't enough...
So the day before the TTT I rode the crazy ass contraption around. All I could think was "WHOA - this thing flies!". Then I picked the gnats out of my teeth and got ready for the next days event. These machines are built to go fast. Sick fast. I was honestly taken aback by how fast it was! Comfortable? Not bad - but not a bike to be on for more than 45-60 minutes.
The event was the weekly ECV Wednesday Night TT - which every few weeks they throw a TTT in. All told about 11.5 miles - from the Hamilton / Wenham High School, up Route 1A, onto Route 133, then looping back on some steeper local roads. In the (1) pre-ride of the course we did, I thought it'd be a snap. Save a little for that last leg on the smaller / hilly roads, and presto! Done.
When our 4-man team lined up, and went off - things were fine. Well, for the first 5- minutes. Once out on 133, our 4th guy came off the group and I took a too long / too hard "pull". A few minutes later, at the limit, we turned onto the last leg and into a headwind and uphill. Now I detonated. All I could do was hang on and try and keep Shawn and Scott - two accomplished TT freaks - in sight. The problem was they NEEDED me to finish, as a teams' time was clocked when the 3rd guy went through, so we had to stay close. It took all I had - we did it, and was I cooked!
Of course, I want to do it again - and keep the team together and tight and be smarter...
Now, what to on the next Wednesday? How about line up with a field of stupid fast domestic pros and hammer head amateurs and race our asses off, around in 1 1/2 minute circles, in downtown Beverly? Cool! Sign me up. The Gran Prix of Beverly took place last Wednesday, and I lasted exactly 12 minutes before being "pulled" - which they do when you're so slow you are in danger of getting lapped. In the process I had fun - and pegged a 196 bpm heart rate. Yow! Haven't had it that high since 2005 when I did a maximum HR test with a coach... let's just say the race was wicked fast, the temps were scorching, and I was oddly juiced. The key is to survive a few more minutes than I did - then the survivors slow up a bit, take stock of the field, and race a more sustainable pace - until the sprint at the end.
Gran Prix Pic (courtesy ECV photographer - can't find link now)
The sprint at the end of "my race" - viewed from the sidelines as a spectator now - involved a big guy sprinting around a corner, clipping a pedal, and SMASHING a US Postal Service mailbox - bolted to a slab of concrete. He not only knocked it over - but sent it across the sidewalk! Good thing the ambulance was 25 feet away... Tim Johnson and a number of other local Pro's schooled the amateur group(s) and were fun to watch... in the end lapping the remaining field(s). So goes Criterium Racing...
Next up: Salem "Witch City" Crit this Wednesday, August 11th! Bring the beer stein - or the fast legs. I'll be riding down, killing it, then riding (limping?) home.