Monday, August 02, 2010

Firehouse 50 Time Trial Race Report

Ok so writing a race report on a TT isnt usually really too exciting. Usually it goes like this:
20 min out, take a Gel. Ideally a 1x caffeinated one.
Get to start line, line up, get held. START.
GO AS FAST AS YOU CAN FOR 8-11 MILES ( depending on the race)
End of Report.

This race report is SO different. You cant do that on a 50+ mile TT, bc you would fall apart, duh.
I didnt really have a huge plan for this race, other than thinking i was super happy it wasnt 56 miles. I figured that I had a few things going for me:
1) I had some good climbing in me from the Triple Bypass. This helped with the first 5miles that snakes gradually uphill to the Continental Divide ( yes there is a sign, but sadly I didnt stop to take a photo).
2) I had a new front 808 with ceramic bearings.
3) I had a great TT wed night, but i also did a REALLY REALLY hard 4 mile T run that left me with some GI issues all night and into thursday. So my legs were not rested, ** I had an orange light in my head on that one ** but trusted JH that things would be fine.
4) I know the course, and i know what areas are technical and what stretches you can really just RIDE and not worry about corners and cars.

So we got up later on friday, got into the condo and went to get our packets. Same old stuff. Drove the rollers around Lake Owen and even tho every year i tell Rich " I get carsick in there, its too rolling and curvey I dont want to go"I am always SO happy when i go bc heck those things GO ON FOREVER. So we were able to get a few landmarks, as every year we say, "oh the turn onto 63 is right around this blind corner." Nope. There are about 12 miles of blind corners, two way traffic, and no yellow lines. And trees, and rough road, and yup, you could be a hood ornament if you arent careful.

Early dinner, early to bed, and we were up by 5.

This year nobody had a super early start time. Usually Rich is in a 4 man TT but this year they had some drop outs and it was the Madden Bros doing a 2 man TT ( start time 9:02). Rich was 8:38 and I was 8:27:30 so we didnt need to be there for a 7am start. That was nice but nervewracking too since I hate not being there, you got stuff to do, wheels rub, porta potties are busy, you know, its just good to be there. Plus its about a 10 min ride to the start where they give you your chip. Even tho its chip timed you HAVE TO START at your assigned time.
We rolled in around 7 am, I wished the Gear West Guys good luck, as they had a rockstar team of Kevin, David, Curt and Devon. It was a humid day, sorta misty but little wind. I figured they would blow their own course record out of the ballpark. Sadly when i was starting i saw Kevin rolling in backwards so knew something was up. Bummer.

So anyways back to my race. I sported my new LS skinsuit and a camelback in a Cback Baselayer. Now normally this would be fine. But i was super hot. I was hot warming up. It wast the only thing that i would change for next year. I will not wear a LS skinsuit. Especially with a baselayer, and since the SS was LS i couldnt fit the hose out the arm the way i usually do in a Short Sleeve so i was totally awkard and unable to get fluids PRN on the bike. This was VERY frustrating. Anyways....the race.

Pre-race non caffeinated Vanilla gel, done.

Rolled to the start and got my chip, said my good lucks to Rich, and said " If you pass me i will be happy for you, but i am going to be pissed." I think the lady next to me was like "O. K."
He laughed. I laughed, but of course i was serious :)

Off I went with another guy and I took a deep breath and knew that i had 50 miles of a tough race ahead of me.

Miles 1-5 climbing, at which point you sometime put it into the small ring. It is a mix of false flats and out of the saddle, but when i went past the continental divide sign and it said something like 1550 feet ( or maybe it was more, but not alot) I said to myself " Seriously?"
As the last Continental Divide sign i saw was at Loveland Pass, 1ok elevation. I was super relieved, I got up the divide in a controlled manner.

Miles 5-10 are flat and a few gradual declines and some time spent around a lake. Since we started later, there was more traffic. BOAT traffic. Saturday traffic. I dont remember this much traffic ever and i had a few times where i had to decide, do i take the left around a SLOW car hauling a boat or do i slow. I slowed. The roads are just too narrow and I just know that being a hood ornament is not the answer to anything. Some of it was that other riders ( and yes i tried to let it be known, but didnt waste my energy) that riding in the middle of a road, when the road is open is NOT GOOD. There were time trialists that were riding side by side, and i am fine with that, but when you hear on your left, that means you move right so I can pass. You dont just sit there and wave. So imagine this with a few cars pulling boats. Potentially unsafe.
I know I am not alone in this and you just do the right thing, In my opinion, and that is remember that you do this for fun. Not for the ambulance ride.

Miles 10-15 ?? Gosh i dont know. I think more winding and rolling around lakes and forest not the fastets part but not like what is to come. 1x Caffeinated Apple Powergel, down the hatch.

Miles 15-25 HIWAY M. Oh yea baby. NOW you take a turn onto M and you are suddenly hit with a nice uphill that you come at from a standstill. You get over that and you just have to re-group and know that if the winds are favorable ( ie no headwind) this is where you need to make some time. Last year there was a head wind, it was very hard. This year we really had no wind. good and bad. Sometimes the push you get is worth riding into it for a bit.
So off I went, and suddenly I passed a dude, and he wanted nada to do with it. It got a bit comical, then it got annoying, then i just settled in and was like "Ok, whatever" It got my mind off the pain, and I just decided to accept him in stead of try to drop him. I did, tho, drop him on the descents. Anyone that knows me, and my body type, know that I dont often drop people descending. LOL.. then he would come storming back at me on the uphills. And i was like "Crap." At one point he would pass me, and tuck in right in front of me, and i would be drafting if i hadnt dropped back or pulled ahead again. I had no interest in dropping back, we are not in a Tri, and tho this is NOT a draft legal race I wasnt going to sit on his wheel just bc there was not USAT official there. Hence we seriously jogged back and forth for 10 miles.
And at one point he was in the middle of hiway M, this is not a backroad, and the MPH is 55. Dude what a dumb-A$$ thing to do. I yelled once, CAR BACK, and he didnt move. Ok, nice riding with you. He got many honks, but what am i gonna do about it? He just caused cars to cross the double yellow line.

Mile 25, CABLE!! the half way point. My time 1:09:45. OK! Now we are cookin! I wanted to come in 1:10:00 so i had hopes of coming close to 2:20 for a finishing time. I knew what was to come was not fast, the ROLLERS of Lake Owen drive. Lots of turns, lots of rough road, and serious rollers, so fast that last year I nearly got bounced off my seat as i went down one of them and back up. You can really get up to speed if you know how to ride this stretch but at the same time all the sudden you are geared out and feel like you are standing still after just hitting 30 mph. It's a deceptive stretch.

Miles 25-40 As i said above, rollers! Turns, no yellow lines, at this poiint the 2 person TT's are catching us and I am catching more and more Indiv TT'ers who started in front of me. The shadows on this section are also tough, but since we had mist and fog it wasnt an issue today.
I did catch a dude who then latched onto me and my Hiway M friend ( gag, he was still with me) and he decided to be the enforcer. " GET OFF HER WHEEL. GET OFF HIS WHEEL." OMG it was annoying. I told the guy ( who now i kinda was feeling sorry for, and wanted him to do well since we had caught this guy who was all team kit'ed out and looking like he was pissed that we were 10 min behind him and caught him) that i had ridden honestly the entire time. He said " hey no worries." And I didnt even give the enforcer man eye contact. I think the one time he yelled at me was when cty M dude was in the middle of the road ( and this, again is a road with no middle line and tons of blind corners with locals steaming thru at 40 mph) and i was passing him on the left and i realized i did NOT want to be passing on a blind corner on the left so i slipped thru the middle, subsequently passing behind his wheel for about 1 second, and said I was passing on his Right. Not something i want to do but his position gave me no choice.

Anyways....I finally dropped them both on a longer down hill section that had some jumps at the end and i never saw them again. Perhaps this correlates with when i took my 2x caffeinated Latte Powergel. And soon enough, that " around the next bend and up the next hill," came and i was at the finishing leg down Hi 63 into Grandview. YES!!!

I decided to not look at my watch on this stretch. I didnt want to know where i was timewise bc I knew i would ride this last 8 miles as hard as i could, but also knew that the first 2 miles was uphill. So i couldnt really BURY myself too early, but i could get the speed up and just keep on pushing it. Again over hill and dale, but my speed was looking good, anywhere from 22-24-32mph and i just kept turning those pedals over. Pushing pushing pushing. By now i was quite thirsty as my water bottle was dry, my Cback was not giving me infinit and iwas fed up with tryting to twist my left arm the right way to get the spout. I just hoped i would be ok. The sun had started to poke out the entire race i went thru the talk in my head :" Unzip the LS skinsuit, no you arent aero now. " I still zipped and unzipped it bc I was so hot.

I then saw mile 45 on the side of the road. COME ON! I knew that i couldnt yet see the flashing light of the police cars in the distance so i was not yet in the true sprint home, but i knew i was close. I started thinking of the 5 mile runs i do and how i could cover that so FAST on my bike and all the sudden i came to the top of a hill and i saw the incline over a bridge, the city limits sign to Grandview, Wi in the distance adn the squad car marking the TURN LEFT into the finishing chute. And then i looked at my computer clock.


Ok sister, hammer it, i had NO idea how long it would take me to get there since i had no idea the distance and i sure didnt want to sit and watch the clock. I just rode as HARD AS I COULD.
Left turn into the finish street and into the finish area, and...poof. done.

2:17:50! I had done it, I broke 2:20! My time last year was 2:25:47 with an average of 20.6 and this year I had busted that one with an average of 21.8mph. I couldnt have been happier!
I rolled around to cool down for a bit and then went to find Rich who rolled in right on schedule. He did 2:17:06 and was so thrilled. He beat me:) hahaha, no i was laughing at that but really I think he rode to his potential, and again shows me that I have nothing to complain about with minor aches adn pains when he came back from sitting in a hospital bed at Mayo this april, with half his GI removed. Gosh, isnt medicine and the human will to "LIVE" amazing!
Here's to living life and huge congrats to Rich!!!
Here I am looking quite pleased with myself:) Ha!

I soon found out i placed 2nd OA! I was amazed. I was thrilled I was just again, totally amazed.
Tracie, a friend and a super FAST biker bested me by 35 seconds. I Did spend sometime thinking about how i could have gotten 35 seconds, I mean over 50 miles that isnt alot. But when i heard her say she dropped her chain and i think that i slowed for traffic, you know, it all works out. and likely the gal taht was behind me, had some issue, too. It just helps to remember that in my head i can come up with 1000 reasons why i didnt do "X or Y" or i was shy of that time by a certain amount, but heck, why not focus on what I did, not what i nearly did.

I was sad i didnt get to get on the podium with Tracie and the #3 gal, I think it was Maggie Fournier, I Dont know her but i know she is a very good triathlete. Since this race is HEAVILY IN FAVOR of the Road race, ( more on that later) I guess they just dont go 3 deep in the TT. Shame. But i made Tracie take our own photo:)

I hoped that she would stick around for the Best of Both and we could duke it out for 35 seconds on sunday's 15k but she has had some running injuries and some health challenges this summer so she was heading back home for some R and R. Congrats Tracie! Super proud to be in your company at time trial!!

So, that brings us to this:

I could say that i would write a race report about the 15K sunday. But yawn. Literally.
So here are the clif notes:
1) I didnt win the best of both. Boo.
2) They use the times from the Road race and the TT indiscriminately and a gal who was in the 2nd pack of women ( think her time was 2:13?) ran and beat me in the 15k by a min or so so she won the BOB. I know they dont really care if you do it all by yourself, but the only reason i was sad was i have one trophy from last year and SO wanted another so i could give them to my nephews. ONE BIG trophy and two little boys who havent gotten to the sharing part of life isnt a good plan.
3) IT was hard. I was deciding if it was my legs or the tank that didnt feel 100% and it was both.
I ran well, still, i had negative splits and i loved running on gravel and rolling hills. But it was not easy. I finished about a minute slower than last year ( blah,) but it was hotter and i think the tank was half full after saturday. They also had water stops with dixie cups that had about 2 TBS of water in them. I was like " MAN, can i have that pitcher?"I think they need more water!
4) super pleased with the weekend, and now i rest.
Got a sprint on saturday and that means I will get back to the race plan that i started this post with. GO ALL OUT!

Thanks for reading!


runningyankee said...

holy shit you killed that.

Kim said...

um yup julia, you are definitely a rock star. way to push it!

Beth said...

Woo-hoo!!! Amazing Julia - great job!!! That lots of long racing in one weekend. Have fun at the sprint this weekend and good luck!

Running and living said...

That bike trial, OMG, you rocked it! Amazing! Congrats!

cheryl said...

awesome PR on the TT!!!!! and you were dropping guys on the downhills! go girl!

TriGirl Kate O said...

ROCK STAR!!!!!!! I am in awe that I hang out with you. Wish I could be as fast as you...but let's be realistic. I don't like to work that hard. Many Congrats. We need to catch up--when's a good time to call?

Rural Girl said...

That is an awesome time! And yes, Maggie Fournier is a great triathlete. You are too!

Charisa said...

Awesome - you rock!!

ADC said...

Julia, you are a MACHINE. You really inspire me - I am in complete awe. Huuuuuge well done and congrats.

Libby said...

AWESOME girl! what a TT! nice riding! you are seriously speedy. very impressive. good luck at your sprint this weekend!

Kim said...

Way to break the barrier! That's awesome Julia! Congrats!!

Jennifer Harrison said...

AWESOME! As I said, a Breakthru race for you FOR SURE!! You are smoking things this summer! Congrats Julia!!!!

Herrad said...

Hi Julia,
Have not been here for awile, enjoyed reading your post and love your photos, you look wonderful.
Great news about Rich too.
Hope Ruby is doing well too.

Betsy said...

God I freakin hate time trials :) You are my hero!

Trigirlpink said...

You are on FIRE!! ouch ouch ouch hottt hot hottt! :-O

Melissa said...

Great RR! I love to hear the drama that goes on out there. So funny when you think about it.

Congrats on beating last years time! I can't BELIEVE they didn't acknowledge 2nd and 3rd. Very bad of them!