Jun 16, 2008

the time trial

the time trial was the first race of the weekend. i had never done a time trail before and in fact, did not plan on doing it at all. it was the kenyans who told me i should do it. lets backtrack for just a moment:

cyclists are classified by category. the categories indicate the ability levels and experience of the cyslists. category 4 is a novice rider in their first season (this is me). category 3 is an intermediate rider with 1-3 years experience. and so on - 4,3,2,1. the lower the number, the more experience. almost all of my races are women open. that means all categories racing together. in all three races this weekend, i was the only cat 4 rider. it's like lining up at the start of a marathon with the kenyans. and trying like hell to keep up. one of the women that i line up with at every race is a national champion racer, she is a category 2. or 1/2 pro or something like that. ditto her husband. they live in town and i was at their house the day before we all left for the stage race. and as we chat about bikes, riding, racing, strengths and weaknesses (mine) and i am soaking up every bit of advice like a sponge, they tell me that i would be a fool to skip the time trial. they said i had nothing to lose and everything to gain. and because i am so easily swayed, and because they are, you know - kenyan; i totally heed their advice. time trial it is. sign me up.

i was nervous as hell for this race. more nervous than i have ever been for any bike race. it was a ramp start and i was trying to recall the section on "ramp starts" from my bike racing 101 book. (you think i'm kidding? i have that book. i have highlighted the hell out of it). i stood in line with the other women waiting to enter the trailer, and hearing the riders cross the finish line while shouting obscenities about no corner marshalls at a busy intersection did nothing to dissuade my anxiety.

so there i was at the top of the ramp. i had 30 seconds. get on my bike. clip in on the right, clip in left. my pedals had to be parallel to the ground. i had my left foot in front. shit, that's wrong, i want the right foot forward. there was a guy holding my seat post and the official was standing next to me with his timer and i could see and hear the clock right in front of me. beep. beep. beep. holy fucking nerve wracking. i just stared at the ramp. i hear the official say 20 seconds. 10 seconds. then he starts to count down. 10, 9, 8. i was skeered. i tried to remember from the book: will they push me? or do i pedal? i will be the laughing stock tool can when i fall off this ramp. 7,6,5. holy shit. dude, i feel a little crooked (i remember from the book that you can tell the official that you are slanting). 4,3,2. i'm still slanting. he does nothing. 1. go!

holy shit! i made it down the ramp! pedal! pedal! pedal! my heart is racing. everyone told me a time trial is supposed to hurt. the book said that too. totally highlighted that part. ok. make it hurt. haul ass.

around mile 9.5, i threw up a little bit in my mouth. this thrilled me. i figured it meant i was totally working hard enough. at mile 9.87, my calculator thingy suddenly went to zero and stayed there for the rest of the 17 miles. i had no idea how fast or how slow i was going, or much distance i had covered and how much more i had left. i was completley in the dark but settled into something that i felt hurt enough but not so much i couldn't make it to the end.

i got a little taste of what the finishing racers were upset about when i was lined up at the trailer for the start: there were corner marshalls at the busy main intersection by the time i came through, but it was still jacked up and confusing. there was an ambulance, a fire truck, 2 policemen and a corner marshall volunteer. i watched the cop screaming at a car to stop and i saw the corner marshal waving me left, and i just hoped to hell the driver was going to heed the cops warnings as i made a left turn directly in front of it.

i went into this 17 mile time trial with one goal: to maintain a 20 mph average. and this is huge for a girl who loves her draft (i don't mean beer). mission accomplished: i made it hurt, i hauled ass and averaged 20 mph. i narrowly missed my other goal of finishing in under 50 minutes by 38 seconds. i crossed the finish line legs shaking, totally spent and overjoyed at my time and having completed my first time trial.

next up: food, recoverite, water and a nap. i came across the finish line around noon and had another race at 3:45.

photo: shari parker


Anonymous said...

Wow. Vomit is a good thing. Who knew?

Anonymous said...

Holy balls. That sounds crazy. Good for you! You kick ass. :)

Vickie said...

Those time trials will get you in shape in no time! My first season I took 10 min. off my time trial 15 miler. That was huge, putting me better than mid pack after being nearly last. I keep thinking of doing them again, but I'm chicken now (the road is a busy one with blind hills). So I've started doing this on my trainer, and it still hurts!

zanne said...

oh yeah. i saw vomit as a good thing. way back when i was a runner, i knew if i peed in my pants a little during a mile repeat or that push to the finish line, that meant i was giving it my absolute all - it was like a no-fail maximum effort gauge. on the bike, i guess my maximum effort gauge is a little puke.

P.O.M. said...

You're a crack up! Throwing up and peeing as signs of success. (Sounds like a typical Saturday night to me - ha KIDDING)

Stuart said...

Damn girl, I turn my back for a week and you're posting race reports left right and center!

Nice job on pushing hard and and going balls to the wall.

Can totally empathize on the vomit thing not so on the peeing one though!