“I can temporarily live a Pro life, eat Pro food, have Pro kit and even Pro(ish) legs, I don’t think I’ll ever have a Pro head. And that’s the difference.” Continue reading
Junior racers are those racers aged 18 or younger. When a rider begins racing at a young age, they have a decided advantage over us old fogies. We are set in our ways and find it very difficult to change. They are young, malleable and will soon be entering the athletic ability pinnacles of their lives during the mid- to upper-20′s. Continue reading
Two weeks ago was the individual time trial championships at Lake Los Angeles. Yesterday, it was the team time trial championships. Instead of riding by themselves, cyclists enter as 2-man or 4-man teams. Categories were based on age.
Having had some fun in the ITT, in spite of dropping my chain 3 times, and wanting to redeem myself because of just that, I managed to convince a co-worker–and friend–to ride with me. He is a triathlete and new to the whole road-racing scene. We entered the 70+ category (outside of the “open” category, the youngest and fastest).
Prior to Saturday, we met on two separate occasions to go over the details and practice a bit. This would prove to be a big help.
I won’t bore you with the details of the ride but will cut to the chase. We came in fifth (out of 5 in our category LOL) with a time of 56:29. I was greatly encouraged by this for a couple reasons.
First, 56 minutes is about where I figure my solo time would have been if I had not dropped my chain. Getting the 56 in the Team event affirmed this.
Second, my partner, being new to the sport, had scored a 1:01 on his individual TT while I still beat him, even after dropping my chain. So our abilities weren’t exactly matched. I figure I probably could have gotten a 54-minute result (or close to it) with someone at my own level, putting us in 4th or 3rd spot. This was apparent during the ride. I would rest and recover on his wheel while he set the pace. Then, as I pulled through, I easily increased our speed 2-3mph (slowly so as not to gap and drop him). I would often look back to make sure he was still there. My pulls were substantially longer than his, as well. When I did finally motion for him to pull through so I could rest a bit, our speed would drop back down. I figure this slowing resulted in a 1- to 2-minute penalty.
Third, on the home-stretch of the course, we were passed by two 4-man teams who had just started (one was an Amgen Master’s team–big dogs in our little sport). They blew by with about 2-3 miles to go on the slightly uphill section. My partner began the last pull as we passed the 1-mile to go sign. As I drifted back behind him, I said, “When I pull through, get ready to go hard.” I anticipated this last mile would take a little over 2-minutes to complete. We both should be able to “go anaerobic” and exceed our thresholds for that duration. As my partner pulled off his pull, I came through. I got to the front, gave him a second to tuck into my draft, checked to make sure he was there, and started increasing the speed. I was pushing this section faster than when were on it the first time through. Soon, with about a quarter-mile to go, I began catching the two 4-man teams who had passed us. As we went up the last little rise, I noticed my partner was starting to gap, so I stood and slowed a bit, but we both were still passing these teams. We ended up getting to the finish line 5-10 seconds before they did (even though they were just starting out and not stopping here).
Even though we didn’t score better, I was greatly encouraged with my form. I was able to practice the skill of leading out a teammate and protecting him from the wind, all while not causing him to blow up: I helped him score 5-mintes faster than his individual time. And I had great fun. It would be nice if I had my own TT gear and could incorporate this type of riding regularly into my training.