On Sunday I decided to pull out the time trial bike from the moth balls and head to Cherry Valley, just outside of Rockford, for their 20k. Fortunately the stormy weather that hit Hillsboro on Saturday missed us on Sunday, but what Sunday lacked in rain was made up for with wind! Since the race was only 20k, I decided to race twice; one in Cat 4/5 and in 30-34.
I could tell almost immediately that it had been quite some time since I had been on the TT bike. I could feel my tris and shoulders from holding the aero position about five minutes into warming up... I'll probably be sore tomorrow.
About 15 minutes before my scheduled start I began riding the roughly 3 miles from registration to the start line. About half way there I see a freight train on the horizon crossing the road. Now I'm at the tracks with a growing number of riders waiting for the train to pass, maybe 5 minutes from my start time, and still nearly a mile away. As the trains clears the road I push it to the start line and luckily made it with about two minutes to spare.
At the start the wind was cutting from the right side. A few minutes in I could see cones ahead signaling a right turn. Once I rounded the turn the "fun" began... 5 miles of 20-25 mph headwind! I played with a few different gears and cadences trying to find the one that made the wind stop and/or got me over 17-18 mph. After that failed I just kept my head down with my eyes glued to the distance counter on my Cateye watching it slowing tick toward 10k. Somewhere during this stretch I had made up my mind that there was no way I was putting myself through this again... once was enough for today. Finally the turn-around came and along with it the tailwind. 17-18 mph was replaced with 32-33 mph! I clicked down for my highest gear but nothing happened... probably another reason I should have taken it for a test spin before today! I did my best to keep up my cadence and speed with the tailwind, but really could've used that last gear. Before too long the finish line came. My time of 31:00 and change was disappointingly slow. I'm not sure how much of that can be blamed on the windy conditions or if this is an accurate measure of where I am...
After I had a few minutes to recover, I decided to at least get a good workout from the day and race again, even if my results were less than expected. I was up again about 10 minutes later, not leaving enough time to get my other number, I was instructed by the official to "just yell out your number at the finish line". Good enough... The second go around was just as fun as the first one, and only a minute slower!
I wasn't sure if I wanted to check the results, but I eventually did. I finished 3rd in both categories, so maybe it wasn't as bad as I initially thought. Some of the times, especially of the 1/2/3 riders, were really impressive considering the wind! After comparing times and some reflection I can set better defined, challenging, yet realistic goals for this season. Less wind next time would help too...