Monday, February 25, 2008

2008 Jack Frost Time Trial

I competed in my first ever bike time trail yesterday. It was a blast! Here's my race report. For the full set of photos, go here:

Race: Jack Frost Time Trial
Location: Vancouver Lake, WA
Distance: 20k (12.4 miles)
Time: 40:51:00 (pace = 18.26 mph)

Pre-Race: People from my club, Lacamas Swim & Sport (aka The Headhunters), attend this event every year. I came along for my inaugural time trial and I ended up being the last person from the group to race. So I brought my camping chair, warm clothes, and lots of munchies to keep me comfy during the day. It was a cool morning and had rained the night before, but soon the sun was shining and drying everything out. Coach Denise brought hot (homemade) chicken soup to share with everyone. One of the Headhunters (Mike) brought a fire pit…and very large fire starter…to keep us all toasty warm. After checking in and getting my number, I pretty much sat on my tushy for a couple of hours and chatted with other club members. It was pretty much like a fun camping trip!

Fellow Headhunter, Natalie, and I were the last to go so we were able to watch everyone else warm-up and take off from the start line. This was entertaining, but we also had the most amount of time to work up our nerves. For whatever reason, I was more anxious for this event than I was for either of my two triathlons last year.

K-Dawg dancing, er, showing off his race number:

The Swimming Sperm (aka, Denise and Bob Croucher):

The boys warming up:
Warm Up: Put the bike on the trainer for about 15 minutes. Mostly just spinning, with a few minutes of harder tension. Right around this time my Mom and Ken showed up – I was really happy that they were able to make it out to watch me start.

Then I did about a mile on the road to make sure everything was in working order and that I still knew how to handle a bike. This was only going to be my second ride outside for the year so far!

Natalie and I warming up:

The Ride: I was in the Women’s 4/5 category, which can also be translated to “women who probably don’t know what they’re doing, but are too young to enter the Masters category”. Unfortunately for me, most of the other women in my group knew exactly what they were doing and were sporting fancy shmancy machine with matching race garb. I definitely had some bike envy going on.

We were sent off one person at a time spaced 30 seconds apart. A volunteer holds you upright from behind the saddle while both of your feet are clipped in and another volunteer tells you when to go. Then it’s basically balls on for the next 20 kilometers until the finish line.

I had a pretty good start considering this was my first time trial. And I was able to settle into a nice cadence right away. I didn’t wear my HR monitor (on purpose) and I never switched the bike computer to MPH. I monitored my RPMs and tried to keep my cadence between 85 and 95. This seemed to work well for me and kept me from fretting about my average speed. After the turnaround there was a bit of head/side wind to contend with that was blowing off the Columbia River. I was tempted to see how slow I was going, but instead just shifted to an easier gear and tried to hunker down on the aerobars while keeping my cadence up. It was around this time that some of the other girls from my category started passing me. Guys from the next wave also started flying by me like I was standing still. That bummed me out a little, but I still made sure to say something nice to each person as they rode by.

I was surprised to see a “1 km remaining” sign posted towards the end of the course. I was even more surprised to find that I was able to down shift a few gears and still maintain a high cadence without much effort. I held this pace through the finish line. I guess I probably could have pushed it a bit harder than I did…

Me starting:
What would I do differently?: Ride faster. :-)

Warm Down: Crossed the finish line, and then rode the half mile back to the parking lot where my Mom, Ken, and other Headhunters were cheering us on. Denise and Bob had cooked yummy grilled chicken and sausages for everyone. Mmm...

Me, Stormy, and Nadine after the race:

Event Comments: This was a fun experience. It was great to watch how other people ride and to look at all of the wildly expensive bikes and accessories that everyone had. I had set a secret target of finishing under 40 minutes and this was the first time that I missed my goal. I was a bit bummed about that, but someone said to me “if you hit all of your goals then maybe you’re not aiming high enough”. I’m going to work hard this summer and I’ll be sure to beat my time at the end of the season!