Willow Time Trial officially marked the start of my race season, yeah there was the training crit last week, but I took that for what it was, a training crit. Being that Willow was part of the MBRA points series I wanted to do well and had prioritized it as a "B" race, meaning that while I would not be making any real taper in my training I would at least alter my week to allow me to be as fresh as possible given my hefty training load. Well the whole idea of slightly changing my week went out the window when I realized that the clubs Otsego TT was on Thursday. For me fatigue do to training stress typically lags two days, so ideally I would take Thursday off of the bike to be as fresh as possible on Saturday. However, I really like the Otsego park TT and had set a goal of going below 20'30" this year, so I decided that I would have to do both and just do the best I could to recover by Willow. Conditions were not ideal at Otsego, but I managed to achieve my goal for the season by going 20'16". The mere 20 minute effort at Otsego does look like much on paper, heck it is just 20 minutes, I had forgotten just how painful and long 20minutes at TT pace could be. The last 2 miles of Otsego all I could think about was Matt saying, "save a little the 1st part, because you will be fighting the devil all of the way back" and it seemed that I was, or at least I thought.
On to Willow, weather conditions predicted were not the greatest, with cold weather and rain, but that did not seem to damper a large turnout for the TT. The 1st indication that Thursday's TT was going to have at least some effect on my performance came during my warm-up, the 1st of my two, 3 minute L5 intervals hurt much worse that it had on Thursday, unfortunately the 2nd was no better, but I figured I would grit my teeth and give it my best. Using Thursday night’s effort as somewhat of a gauge for my pace at Willow, I decided I would try to target an average speed of 27mph. However, after the 1st of 6 laps it was apparent that holding my average at 26.6mph was a better pace. I knew that a 27mph average would result in a time that would be tough to beat, at 26.6mph, it would be close, so I needed to make sure I gave it all I had for the other 5 laps.
There is something strange about how your body adapts to a certain stress over a certain duration, most of my "long" intervals had been in the 15-20minute range, so once I hit 20minutes it was like my body and mind were saying, "ok now you are done, right?". Well no, I still have 10 more minutes! The last 10 minutes was pure hell on a bike, if I had fought the devil on Thursday night I have no idea who I was fighting during that last lap. The only thing that kept me on pace was thinking of the tired look in Michelle’s eyes as I headed out of the door this morning. That tired look was the only way I knew that it had been somewhat of a difficult night with our 3 week old daughter Lauren, because despite how much easier it may have made things to wake me up, she allowed me to get a full nights rest. I could not let them down, if she could fight through a sleepless night for me, I could suffer for another 10 minutes! And so I did, giving it all I had left right until the finish, stopping the clock at 30’ 04”, a mere 4 seconds faster than 2nd place in Cat 3 and good enough for 5th place overall.
So, I finished in August on a high note and am starting in April on a high note. Not sure how crazy I am about being marked, but I will get to wear the red points leaders # for at least one race. Now on to Cone-Azalia!!