Does it count if I posted this somewhere else first?
This is stage 2. Stage 1 is here
After the crit in the morning, we only had a few hours before the start of the second Madera stage, a 10 mile flat time trial.
A time trial.
I don't like time trials. I just don't have that kind of discpline. To go as hard as you can when there are no other competitors or terrain changes to challenge you. I am, by nature, lazy and easily bored and there is no room for either in a TT.
The only thing I could dislike more than a time trial is a time trial in the scorching heat.
Of course, Madera set a 16 year record with temps in the upper 90s that afternoon. 98ish I think.
My goal for the TT was to just get the damn thing over with. But Michael "suggested" that I go at it as hard as I could because its a stage race and you just never know.
I decided I would try and go as hard as I could because Michael is cute, and it seemed like good heat training for Kern.
Thanks to Michael, I had some clip on bars for this TT. I practiced on them by rolling around on the road after the crit. Michael kept asking me if they fit. I dunno. If feeling like you are squatting on the john while reading the newpaper is how you're supposed to feel, then yeah, they fit just fine.
We set up a tent in the Almond orchard at the scenic TT site and Kim let me borrow her trainer. I broke a sweat just trying to set the damn thing up. I decided to roll over to the start line to get the official time (I am so pro). I noticed it was far cooler warming up on the road than the trainer, so I did that instead. WIth the heat, and the race of the morning, and my tendency towards the lazy, I decided a long trainer warm up was not necessary.
As my start time drew near, I stuffed ice in my bra and bottle and headed out.
I was 4th in the line up and really anxious to get started. I forgot that someone was holding the bike so I had one foot down at my start (I guess Im not pro after all)
GO! wait clip in, GO!.....wait hit start button on Garmin...then GO!
With heart rate as my guide (I am not pro enough to do the watt thingie) I followed Michael's (both Hernando and Hutchy) advice and got up to speed steadily. He did not want me to hit it until the 1st turn. I also knew that the heat would mean a higher heart rate than normal so I would aim for that. But its a dangerous balance because although the heat elevates heart rate as compared to the same effort in regular temps, your max is still your max and you can blow big time playing with that in the heat. Many a mushroom cloud over my head in mtb racing has taught me that lesson.
I also have the ability to run a long time just below my max, so thats what I intended to try out. Plus, looking at the hr monitor would sort of distract me from the monotony.
The first leg was a steady ramp up to the mid 180s (my max is about 195). The first turn took forEVER and I was wondering if I was making a mistake by not trying to go hard, sooner. I was almost relieved to see the first turn finally.
I brought my hr up to the high 180s on the second stretch. I also passed Linda (who of course shouted encouragement at me while I grunted) and a Left Coast gal. I was feeling pretty good here.
I made the turn onto the 3rd stretch, noticed I had about 10 mintes of riding left and decided to notch it up even higher. I did this whole stretch just a few beats below my max and held a steady 190.
But now I was starting to feel the heat, the work I did in the crit and the awkward position I had on the bike. My hr stayed the same, but my speed was dropping. My head was hot, my feet were hot, my eyeballs were hot. My muscles, which weren't used to powering the bike this way started to yell. I took a deep breath and decided to push through the pain. My forearms, which weren't used to being all bunched up together in prayer like position, started to burn and tremble. Deep breath, push through the pain. My hoohaw, which was having the life smooshed out of it from my funky perch on the saddle, said enough. Take a deep breath....and nope. Not pushing though this pain. That is my breaking point.
I raised up off the saddle and adjusted and readjusted and pulled on my chamois and seconds lost be damned, this was my hoohaw we were talking about here.
In the distance I spotted railroad arm blocking things (or whatever those are called) and I was gaining on the last rider who started in front of me. She had on a bear jersey and lots of aero thingies. Seeing this, lifted my spirits enough to take me to the last corner.
Michael (hutchy) told me I could rail the last corner, and so I did, but the tailwind he talked about, was not there. And the finish line tent was just a wee speck in the dusty distance. Goddamn that last stretch was forever away.
I couldn't sprint the last few meters, I only rolled a little faster. Gasping, sputtering, whimpering, salt evaporating....hardly human, I finally crossed the line. Glad to have that over with. But with the satisfaction of knowing that I truly did give that damn thing everything I had.
And when that happens, no matter what the results say, there is content satisfaction.
I have to say, throwing everything I had out there taught me nothing but HUGE respect for those who excel in this discipline. The woman who won our category went 2 and half minutes faster. And Jane Despot went a few minutes faster than that. That is just remarkable. And I now have an appreciation for the work it takes to do that.
Although we didn't know our results until after the road race (master 35+ results were all mucked up) it turns out I was 6th out of 16. Far better than the last place I expected to get. But, like, not enough for me to consider training for this stuff or anything. Soni was 5th, Laura missed her start and lots of other stuff, but she is damn tenacious and tore it up anyway, and Linda went hard, but also held a little something back so she could make some magic happen in the next day's road race.
We knew we were up against some TT specialists at Madera, so I think all of us were happy with our results and to have made it through the experience. Our goal at Madera was training, fun, and to do our damndest to take hold of the race when we could. And with that in mind, we rested up bella like (beer, margaritas, bibnapkins, giggles, and giant meatballs) for stage 3.