Thirteen miles of all-out
pain pedaling kicked off my 2014 race season last week.
I raced week one of Twin Cities Spoke Tuesday Night Time Trials, and in between rolling hills and a wicked headwind, there was nonstop smiling.
Nick and I arrived around 6:15p, and I quickly registered (arriving late, I was near the end at #49), changed and headed out for a 20-minute warm-up with Julia. About eight miles later, I swapped my long sleeves for arm warmers and lined up on County Road 19, where I shivered for about 10 minutes before starting. Spring hasn’t really arrived yet; it was only around 60 degrees and cloudy.
Given it was my first race since October, I was a bit nervous, but as soon as I got the starting push, the butterflies disappeared and I was off, peaking near 300 watts… because excited energy to be biking!
Coach wanted me starting off conservative the first couple miles, so I held back a bit – and, at the turn onto Hamel had to brake, watts falling well below my target, and maneuvered so I didn’t hit one of the bazillion potholes.
The first mile… still smiling…
The first eight miles featured a mean headwind, lots of rollers and being passed by insanely fast dudes in skin suits and shoe covers. After a few eff bombs – because WIND – the turn onto Medina Road appeared… hooray for five miles to the finish with a tailwind! Even with it, though, those last few miles were painful. My legs were toast and several times I thought there could be barfing. What kept me pushing: The one guy just ahead of me for all of the race. With about 1.5 miles to go, I caught him on an uphill.
Overall, I’m fairly happy with how it went. Sure, I wanted my average watts to be a bit higher, but it was the first race of the season… a good test of fitness after a long winter (and spring) on the trainer – and, a good benchmark going forward.
Official results // 35:43, 21.5 mph, ~215-watt average, 5th in open class, 2nd AG.
Downhill to the finish… I was beat, but still having fun (even though I’m not smiling!)…
About the course
TnT follows a new one-loop course this year. Starting at Baker Park in Medina, it loops clockwise, partially following last year’s course; it finishes on a fun downhill that was the turnaround in 2013. It’s a great course, as I’d rather ride a loop than an out-and-back (especially because I’m not very good at turning a tight left… am I the only one?!). But, there are a few sharp corners with giant potholes (the first turn in particular), which require some careful navigation and a bit too much slowdown.
View a google map of the course here.