Wednesday, July 26, 2017

2017 Charlotte Motor Speedway Time Trial (July)

It's been a long time since I did the Charlotte Motor Speedway Time Trial. You have to go way back to 2011. Back when I was a newbie really.  I've always wanted to make it back up here but, I don't know, just never seemed to work out. Obviously wasn't a priority.

So this year I made it one.  I did the Rock Hill Time Trial back in April, and that got me wanting to come up to CMS.  They are usually on Wednesday nights, but for some reason (unkown to me) this one was on a Thursday.  I decided to just put it in my training schedule, and not alter anything else.
Easy Thursday Morning Run
Thursdays are usually long run in the morning and then interval ride that evening. I just switched my usual interval ride to the weekend and used this as my tempo ride.

I left straight from work, since I work north of downtown anyways. Little bit of traffic getting to 85, but wasn't bad after that. I stopped at the Subway there in front of the Great Wolf Lodge and grabbed a footlong.  Then I drove to the speedway.  You have to go all the way around the back to go through the tunnel under the track. I just followed some people in front of me.
The Garage
I parked on the far side of the garage on the end away from the track.  I did remember from before that this end was where the bathrooms were.  I ate the sub in the car, then headed over to get my number and chip.  That was at the other end of the garage.

As I was walking back I saw Paul, and he said to setup with them.  I changed into my trisuit, grabbed my stuff and walked over to their area in the garage.  Paul was getting the tandem ready to ride with Chester.  Other EPT racers Christa and Shannon were there as well.

I pumped my tires up and got ready to do a warmup.  By this time, they had already started people  on the track, so it was closed.  I rode on the warmup track inside the main track. That's when I first noticed the wind.  There was a really good headwind as you went in the direction of the front stretch of the track.

I started putting my bib number on.  I had a little trouble and had Paul help me put on the last two pins.  Sufficed, I went to lineup at the start line.  I adjusted one of the pins to try and pull the bib number tighter (as in more aero).
Practice Track
They list start times on the website.  These are based on what speed you think you will ride. When you register, you select under 24mph, 24-26 mph and over 26 mph. I selected over 26. Then they have all those riders just listed alphabetically, so my start time was 3rd from last.

But it's more of a guideline. You can just go up and get in line to start.  They aren't calling out anyone's name or anything.  They take your number when you get up there and write it down.  And everyone has a timing chip as well.

They form two lines, and start 1 person every 15 seconds.  Each line has a "holder" so you can clip in before you start. So each holder is sending people off every 30 seconds.  There were about 4 or 5 people in front of me in the inside line. A couple of guys were chatting about The Tour, as we waited our turn.

Finally I got to the front.  The "holder" held my bike.  They gave me a 10 second warning, then 5, then GO.  I started a little hard, but you feel good and you have a lot of adrenaline pumping.

The first minute I averaged 403 watts, and even through the first 5 minutes I was at a 331 watt average.  The first mile felt pretty good. Then I hit that frontstretch for the first time.  That wind was pretty stiff.

Plus the track is not flat. You would think that it is, but it is not. As you come around the 4th turn back onto the frontstretch, there is a slight uphill.  I had some pretty wide variances in speed.  Basically I was hitting 32 to 34 mph on the backstretch going downhill with the wind.  Then on the front I was at 23 to 24 mph against the wind.
Speed and Cadence
This race is a little harder mentally than the road course in Rock Hill.  For 7 laps you really have to keep your concentration.  Through the halfway point I was averaging 308 watts and 28.4 mph on my Garmin. I was really cranking the pedals as well with a cadence of 99 at that point.

It got pretty tough in the middle, mentally and physically. Laps 4 and 5 were my slowest ones. I could see the power start dropping off. I tried to push, but I'm sure some of it had to do with the 15 mile run I did that morning.
Mo Power
Once I got on the 6th lap I was able to push a little more. I just kept telling myself, this was it. Push hard now, the last lap will take care of itself.  Once I hit that last lap, I just went for all I was worth.  I steadily increased the power on that last lap.  I got to turn and just cranked home at 490 watts from there.

Lap (1) 2:55  MPH Avg: 29.39

Lap (2) 2:58  MPH Avg: 28.89

Lap (3) 3:01  MPH Avg: 28.41

Lap (4) 3:05  MPH Avg: 27.80

Lap (5) 3:05  MPH Avg: 27.80 

Lap (6) 3:02  MPH Avg: 28.26

Lap (7) 2:54  MPH Avg: 29.56

I was d-e-a-d at the finish.  I layed my bike on the grass and walked around some.  I went back to the garage, got so more water and walked around some more.  I changed, and then went over to the finish area to get a printout.  The timing and results are much improved now that they have Start2Finish running everything. Very organized and very smooth.

The results say I averaged 28.5 mph which I was pretty happy with. It would have been nice to break 21, just 3 seconds off.  My garmin only said 9.96 miles, and I couldn't quite hit the stop button as I was coasting at the end, so it had a 28.3 average.  I was glad to have averaged 300 watts. I did more at Rock Hill, but I'll take it after running 15 miles.

That put me 5th overall, and the first 'recreation' race. Meaning other than tandem or CAT rated riders. Times were pretty slow across the board with the headwind compared to early races here. Full Results HERE.
Number and 'Ownway Apparel' Suit
We ended up going to Texas Roadhouse after with Paul, Shannon, Chester, and Chester's wife.  I really wasn't that hungry, but the beer sounded good. I ordered a burger, ate the side and pickle, and took the burger to work the next day for lunch.

Got home after 11pm, pretty late for me. Put everything up. Set the alarm for 4:30am so I could work on my true passion: swimming.
Me, Paul, and Chester