It's official I'm becoming a neurotic competitor again. Last night I kept waking up every hour thinking "Is time yet?". I also had one of those crazy race dreams where stuff goes wrong and when you wake up, you say; "Phew it was only a dream!" In this dream I was walking around with my bike and the tire fell off the rim. I don't notice until someone points out the fact that I'm missing a tire. It was a sew up tire and I'm panicking because I have to glue it back on, and it's going to be hard to corner with wet glue. Mark is telling me I won't be able to corner right. He's drawing me diagrams of how I will have to negotiate the turn around on each end of the course.
Then I have this realization of "Wait! This has to be a dream because I have clinchers on my tri-bike, not sew ups." It's funny how real these dreams feel, and there is such relief when you realize that it was only a dream. Through out my sports "career" I've had many of these dreams. I do recall having them in college sometimes before ice hockey games. I'm not sure if I had them in high school. It's a good sign that I'm having them again. It means I'm starting to think like an athlete again.
Even though my start time isn't until 11:11, I still get to the site around 9:20. That gives me time to do a little bit of riding on the course. For the rest of my warm up I'll borrow someone's trainer. Riding a wind trainer is not my favorite thing to do, but we're parked in a field and we can't use the race course once the race starts. It's rather hot and there isn't any shade in the parking lot. Some teams have tents set up so that they can stay out of the sun. We don't. At one point I'm sitting on the ground in the shadow from a car. Hey, if it's good enough for the dogs, it's good enough for me.
Time trials always make me nervous because of the standing start. Even more so after getting dropped in 2004. Maybe I should have been more nervous about my warm up on the trainer. I'm not sure what happened, but suddenly the thing is tilting, and the bike, the trainer, and me all fall over. Sheesh! Talk about looking like a dork. Fortunately I was fine, and it was only my pride that took a few lumps.
Deborah Cohen a local who was out taking photographs caught the aftermath. Thanks for sending me this picture!Somebody needs to provide some comic relief. I guess I might as well be the one.
My start wasn't so full of pratfalls despite the fact that I managed to drop my chain and make a mess of my hands putting it back on. This was about 4 minutes before I was scheduled to start. I was getting a little crazy, but Gemma kept telling me to calm down and that it would be okay. I was happy to see that Ed was the starter. He does the starts at our club time trials, and he has steady hands. That made me feel better seeing him, and not some lady my height trying to hold me up.
I've ridden this stretch of Rte. 100 many times. I've done it with Team in Training, I've done it on long rides, and I did it a few weeks ago with the Cheetah Chicks. (Karen and Mary) When the Cheetahs did it a few weeks ago, we were doing a pace line. One might say the Cheetahs were cheating. :-) Today I would have no wheels to suck. It was me and the wind. Actually there wasn't much wind, but it was pretty hot. Wind or no wind, it's always easier to sit in.
Not being in top shape, and not getting out of my comfort zone much makes it harder to know how to pace myself. The club TT from a few weeks ago wasn't a great indicator. I figured I start out a bit easy and see how I felt as I went along. It's hard not to get pumped up when your friends are yelling your name as you go by. That would get me going and after awhile I have to dial it back a bit when I found it hard to breathe. Mary was on the megaphone trying to keep riders and spectators close to the grass. Every time I'd pass her spot I'd hear her yelling something about me through the megaphone. People who didn't know Polly sure did with Mary announcing my coming.
I suck on the turn around. The way this course was configured I'd have to do 3 U-turns. The first turn around was a little hairy. I decided that it was too hot not to go without water, but I didn't have any of my aero-bottles so I was going to have to reach down and get a bottle. I figured the best time to do that would be after completing the turn, and before I got back down on the bars. Good plan, but poor execution on the first turn. I came around the turn, but had not quite gotten straightened out so when I went for the bottle I slid out a bit and almost hit one of the cones. I decided for the second turn I'd wait a little longer before going for water.
I was wondering how long it would be before the woman who started right after me would catch me. Some of the other women who were starting after her said she was fast. They weren't kidding. She went blowing by me before the second turn around point. I wasn't too surprised since she started only 2 minutes after me. Her final time was almost 3 1/2 minutes faster then mine. Ouch! I still wish I knew how old some of these women were. After the last turn around two more women came blowing by me.
I learned from my Binghampton experience that these Open women are much better time trialists then the competition I get in Masters. I remember in 2004 expecting to finish somewhere in the middle. I was rather shocked by my next to last finish that year. I blamed some of it on being dropped and losing all that time picking myself up off the pavement, but truth be told I'm racing against Cat 2s and 3s in some cases. These women are hardcore racers, not a tri-geek pretending to be a bike racer.
My time was 28:32.79. It's not my worst time, but certainly off from the 26:23 from 2005. I did manage to avoid last place by a scant 18 seconds. I was 26 seconds behind Janice. We contributed some points towards the team standings, but the home team is sitting DFL. It doesn't help when we don't have a full women's team, and we're not talking power houses here. Even though Adirondack is also short a women on their team it didn't seem to hurt when they're top women finished first and score a hellava a lot more points then Janice and me.
Karen and Nancy both won Bronze medals in their respective age catagories in the Masters. I think in some ways I'm glad not to be in the masters category. My time would have placed my 4th over a minute behind Nancy. I'm not sure how well I would have been able to deal with getting smacked around by the masters women. That race I would have also been next to last. In the Open it's easy to deal with being back of the pack. In Masters where I'm used to being front of the pack it would have been harder. Perhaps in this year of trying to come back it's better to be in a division where there is no pressure because there are no expectations. The goal this weekend is to finish. Whether the points I collect will help the Hudson Valley team remains to be seen. However it does feel good to pin on a race number and go out and compete again.
Well tomorrow is another day. This will be the toughest day for me. It will be interesting to see if I get yanked early or whether I will have to slug it up those hills 4 times around. The inner-wimp side of me will be begging to get pulled. The inner-competitor will want to suck it up to the bitter end. I'm not going to lose sleep over it. I just hope I can stay clear of the psycho guys when they lap me. At least I know I have more the enough gears for the hills.
So one race down, three to go.