Salt Aire Time Trial

Mark invited me to the Salt Aire Time Trial (TT) today and I was game. We met at the International Center and biked the 10 miles along the frontage road to the race. We thought the start and registration were at Salt Aire, but it was back on the frontage road - we had passed it. We looped back and got registered. We met JE there and asked him if he wanted Mark and I to go in front of him so he could chase us down, but he declined. I went before Mark, so I would be his carrot. We felt a bit out of place since everyone had TT/Tri (Triathlon) bikes but us.

We warmed up a bit more then got in line to start. At the start line they held my bike while I clipped in and waited for the signal to go. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, go! I pumped the pedals to get up to speed. I hit 26-27 mph and motored along, but I was breathing really heavy. I was concerned I was going to conk out, but after the first mile my breathing settled down and I was still going 25+. Of course this was with a mild tail wind. Without aero bars I decided to rest my elbows on the top of the bars in fake aero style. It wasn't solid, but good enough and I could tell it cut down the wind drag some.

I kept my speed up pretty good and made it to the turnaround - an orange cone in the middle of the road. I kept my speed up until I got close then slowed, looked back for cars or other riders, then made the turn. Now I had a head wind, and I'll just say it was very noticeable. I cranked back up to speed, but lower this time. I pushed to hit and hold 20 mph. While the first half seemed to go by pretty fast, the way back seemed to never end. I kept glancing at my speed and pushed a little harder when I saw it dip below 20 until that first digit was back to a "2". Without this little game I'm sure I would have let my speed drop more, but I couldn't muster the will to go deeper into the pain cave for 21 mph. I tried to get low to lessen the push of the wind. It helped some, but not as much as I hoped. Eventually I reached the bend, rounded it and could see the finish line. I coaxed a little more power from my reluctant body for the final distance. I crossed the line and shouted my name to the timer. I was winded and glad to be done. Mark rolled in soon after.

I cooled down a bit, chatted with Mark and JE, then gathered the bottles, wind jacket and seat pouch I had jettisoned before the race. I peeked over the shoulder of the timekeeper and saw my time as 33:29.4 - subtract my start time of 15:30 and that is, well 18 minutes flat is close enough [The results are in and my time was 17:59]. Mark was right with me at 18:20. Mark told me JE got 16 minutes something - nice job! [Update: JE doesn't have an accurate time, but his best guess is 17 minutes. Update 2: time for JE was 17:54] Then Mark and I rode the 10 miles back to the car for 33 miles total.

So now I've tried the Salt Aire Time Trial. (My first TT was up Hobblecreek Canyon with the Utah Velo Club and another riding group from Mapleton.) Being a new experience it was exciting, but man it hurt. I go into the pain cave during mountain bike races, but there's so much going on (shift down to climb that hill, dodge that rock, brake for that sharp turn, etc.) that it keeps my mind distracted from the discomfort. But there's no escape from the body yelling at you to slow down or stop during a TT. Kudos to those who push deep into the pain cave for TTs. I don't see myself doing a lot of TTs - it just doesn't do it for me. And to be serious you need a TT bike, which I can't justify. But, it was a good experience doing something new on the bike.

Bonus: NPR's All Things Considered suckered me with a brilliant April Fools joke. I should have caught the joke, but sometimes I'm dense as lead. Check it out.


irideiwrite said...

I think those are pretty good times for you guys. You were at a 'competitive disadvantage' of sorts. Heck, I saw some of the disc wheels, zipp 808s and aero helmets and felt out of place.

Was my time what Mark saw over the shoulder or from my early estimation?

I'm still not sure about Hon. I have a work deal in Ogden at about noon and I've been skipping out on my husbandly duties a little bit. I'll see if I can put on the charm, though.

Now that you're a two-time-a-week road racer, you need to join the club. You'll be Cat 4 in no time.

irideiwrite said...

And I'm with you on the expense of a TT/Tri bike. the wheels are the big killer and I can't justify another $2,000 unless I'm 'really' serious about this sport. Right now, I just want to be better.

Maybe in a year or two if my 'cycling fund investment' keeps up the current pace I can get some Zipps or a rear disc wheel.

Until then, I think the most I'll go for is a helmet.

I am Matt said...

Nice write up. Sounds like you all had a fun time. That wind sure can make a long return trip.

KanyonKris said...

Mark told me your time was 16 minutes - I'm pretty sure he got that from you, not the timekeeper.

Hell of the North doesn't look good. Rain, cold, windy - could the forecast be any worse? My plan is to check the weather tomorrow morning, and if by some miracle it hasn't rained/snowed and doesn't look like it will, I'll head up. In other words, it's very unlikely I'll do HoN.

j_e said...

well, as I think a out how I read my computer -- and remembered to start it about 15-30 seconds after I started pedaling -- and think about how many people passed me and where they were in line ...

I think I'm probably 17 minutes or so.

Still, it was a learning experience for me and you guys too, I guess.

I'll be back in the future and hopefully know how to get more out of my bike, my legs, my lungs and the race. The custom fit I'm heading in for should help, too.