Monday, May 1, 2017

2017 Rock Hill Time Trial (April)

I last did the Rock Hill Time Trial race a couple of years ago. I can't really remember if I knew or not, but that year, they actually had a slightly different course as one of the bridges was being repaired.  Anyways, this was back on the 'regular' course.  As I said, I really like this road course TT.  I didn't do it last year at all.  Being that they are all on Wednesday nights, I usually am going to Church.

Also last year, I upgraded my race wheels to full carbon with my FLO 90 and Reynolds Disc.  I was using the aluminum FLO 30's in training.  So to swap them out I had to swap out the brake pads as well.  Honestly it's not a lot of work, but that means I need to change them to carbon on Tuesday night (after riding Tuesday morning).  Then I have to change them back Wednesday night after the race, so I can be ready to ride when I get home from work on Thursday. And you don't really feel like doing after that TT effort.
Signup Here!
So this year I got some full carbon Reynolds Strikes for my training wheels.  I also got my front light setup on a velcro strap, no zip ties.  So it makes it pretty easy to strip everything off (lights and water bottle cages).  Then swapping the wheels takes like one minute since I don't even need to touch the brakes. Honestly taking off the water bottle cages takes the longest.

So basically this all makes it much easier to make a quick decision to get Green Lightning race ready and head on down to Rock Hill South Pointe High on a Wednesday night.  And that's what I did. My wife had a middle school meeting, so I jumped on the opportunity for 20 minutes of pain.

I left the house a little before 5:30 and got there about 10 to 6.  There were already quite a few people warming up.  I parked and went to where Cheryl was signing people up.  It is quite nonchalant.  I put my name on the sheet and mentioned that I hadn't done it in 2 years.  Cheryl was still able to look up my time from then to see where to start me.  They start slowest to fastest.  She did a little bit of finagling as that time was from a different course.  She asked me if I was gonna be faster or slower than that.  I said that since that this was April and the the last time I did it in June, that I would probably be slower. I threw a donation on the jar and headed back to the car.

Then I got my bike pumped up and start getting suited up.  I drank some HiBall energy water to get me ramped up.  I ate a banana and a couple of gels.  I put some water in my BTA, and then I was pretty much ready.  I saw Bernie, who I swim occasionally with. We spoke for a bit. I headed out for a warmup and just went out and back on the beginning of the course.  Did a couple of quick hard spins to try and get everything warmed up.  It's a little difficult in that you really don't know exactly when you are starting.
Elevation and Cadence
The first rider goes off at 6:30 but I knew I would be further back in the starting order.  But you don't know how many people they will have on any given night.  So I moseyed back to the start line after they began starting people.  Another lady was lining people up in the correct order.  I sat in the line for about 10-15 minutes before I made it up to the front.

At the front, you have about 30 seconds. Chris Reinke will hold your bike for you before he participates himself.  Once there, I asked where the actual finish was, since last time it was right here on the alternate course.  Easy enough, it was right on the road up from where we signed in. Cheryl gave the 10 second countdown, Chris gave me a push, and off I went!
Speed and Power
Initially you have a slight downhill, then right away you have to largest hill on the course.  Well it's only a 110 foot climb, but it's not nothing. I pushed hard out of the box and averaged 414 watts in the first minute (just over a half mile).  Once you get over that hill, you really start cruising. I knew I had started fast, as I was gaining on the 2 guys in front of me pretty quickly.
I hit my max speed of 43 mph on that first downhill at about the 1.5 mile mark.  I kept the pressure on and was averaging 338 watts through the first 5 minutes (2.4 miles). I caught 2 guys before the first turn at the 4.6 mile mark.  Just my luck that right before the turn I caught the next guy. So I had to go wide around that turn.  Then you make another right less than 2 tenths a mile.  I couldn't get around him, so I had to wait until we were onto Ogden road before I could get past him.
The Map
Then I figured I really needed to get away from him, or he would be annoyed with me, or think I was drafting, or I couldn't ride or something.  So I cranked it up to 489 watts and dropped him.  Now you have about a 4 mile straight stretch back up Ogden road before the next turn.  I wasn't doing too bad. I was just trying to keep my watts above 300.  I hit the 5 mile mark with a 27.4 mph average on 313 watts (cadence: 98).  So I thought, halfway, I can do this.

Then about the 7 mile mark I felt like I kinda hit the wall.  300 watts seemed really freaking hard at that point. I was breathing like a freight train. Looking at my power graph, it doesn't look like I dropped off the watts too bad. But at that point I just focused on getting to the next turn. As luck would have it (again) I came up on another rider just as we were hitting the turn.  I took it really wide as I knew the next turn was gonna come quick. You basically hit these 2 turns and it points you straight back to the finish.
The Summary
She yelled at me to turn right. She must have thought that I didn't know about the turn. But I wasn't in aero, so that should've told her.  Anyways I took both turns wide and came across the railroad tracks, then she yelled Go Go Go! So I did. I cranked 420 watts coming out of that turn. At that point I figured just 5 minutes, we can do this.

I just tried to maintain the 300 watts. Then the last half mile, I tried to crank it up.  There is a slight uphill, and I saw my Garmin averaged had dropped to 27.1 and I really wanted to average over 27.  So I just pushed up the hill until I hit the line.
I really kicked some Garmin Segments tonight
I went about 50 yards and pulled over to the side and got off my bike and laid there. Just trying to catch my breath.  Someone offered me some water but I had some.  I eventually got back on the bike and did about a 5 min cooldown to try and work some of the lactate acid out.  My Garmin ended up with 9.89 miles in 21:55 for a 27.1 average on 307 watts and a 97 cadence. I averaged right at 300 watts after the 5 mile mark, so I was pretty happy with that. I was pleased with the 27 average and the 307 watt overall average.
The Results
I got back to the car and threw everything in.  I took the top of my suit off, and put some clothes and shoes on.  I walked over to where Cheryl was compiling the results and stood with Bernie while she compiled.  I apologized to the woman who I came up on at that second set of turns. She seemed to understand that is was just random bad timing.

Just a few minutes later, Cheryl said they had a record 44 riders toe the line tonight.  It was a really pleasant night for a TT.  She started reading the results, slowest to fastest.  I knew my time, but didn't know how I stacked up.  Eventually she said, and here are the top 3, then announced someone else. I thought cool I'm top 2. She said my name and an average of 27.36 mph. obviously that is based on a full 10.00 miles.  She goes, Where is Rick? Here. She's like, you said you would be slower. I'm like it's April, I'm still trying to get in shape.

Then she announced the man, the myth, the John Patterson. Dude broke the course record averaging 29.17 mph, a 20:33 time. At least the guy who beat had to break the course record! I'll fail to mention he destroyed me by over 80 seconds.  Anyways, hopefully I'll make it back this year. It's a good test of pain. It is truly the "Race of Truth". Plus they usually go have some beers at Legal Remedy afterwards. And isn't that what really matters?