Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jack Frost Time Trial February 26, 2012

Jack Frost Time Trial
February 26, 2012
Vancouver, Washington

Time:  0:37:08 for 12 miles (19.5 mph avg)

Woke up to a cold and rainy day and seriously thought about blowing off the bike race, but this was the start of the last week of the Out Season Ironman training plan and I knew I needed to complete a bike test this week.  After checking the forecast, it looked like it was going to quit raining later in the morning and I needed a good excuse to get my butt out the door. 

Arrived at Vancouver Lake Park and signed up.  Chose to enter the Cat 5 class and got a start time of 11:43.  That was about 3 hours away so I called Wendy and we ended up going to the 9am church service, all decked out in my bicycle gear and everything.

Back at the venue I pinned my number onto my jacket, installed the rain fenders and lubed my chain.  Brrrr, it was cold.  The rain had stopped but there was water puddled on the road.  I started warming up, spinning easily at first and then building the cadence and resistance to open my legs up.  I was wearing a balaclava hat that also covered my face.  When I stopped to adjust something on my bike, my glasses fogged up.  I couldn’t wear this thing during the event so I hustled back to the truck and put on a different hat.

I had about 3 minutes left so I quickly got over to the starting line as I heard them calling out my name.  “Here,” I answered.  The stager got me lined up in the proper order.  A rider was leaving every 30 seconds and there were about 3 guys in front of me.

As I approached the starter the gals at the scoring table advised me that my number was pinned upside down to my coat.  “Are ya kidding me?”  I have been riding around for 20 minutes and no one noticed or mentioned it to me until now?

“5-4-3-2-1-GO!”  The starter game me the countdown and I took off.  I started my GPS on my wrist and also the MapMyFitness app on my iPhone that I had in a new waterproof case and cradle mounted to one of the aero bars. 

My goal was to give an all out effort for the distance, but also go the full 40 minutes.  I knew I would complete the 12 mile course in under 40 minutes, so I would have to continue pushing it for a few minutes after the finish.  My strategy was to negative split the 20 minute segments.

I focused on smooth pedal strokes and keeping the power on.  I was surprised to see my heart rate up in the upper 140’s.  Although it was hard, I didn’t feel like I was ‘dying.’  For my gearing I tried to keep it in the big ring on the crank, but I could feel my legs getting pretty tired.  So I dropped it back down to the middle ring to keep a higher cadence and it seemed easier although I was maintaining the same speed.

Speaking of speed, my big goal is to do one of these and average over 20 mph.  That seems to elude me every time. 

Oh my goodness, what’s this?  I am gaining on the rider in front of me.  Holy smokes!  The last time I did this event I passed only one rider and it was an old man who was making his way to his favorite fishing hole and had nothing to do with the event!  This rider was a female that started a few minutes ahead of me.  Whoosh!  Nice.  Oh, there’s another one!  Whoosh!  Sweet.  All in all I passed 4 or 5 riders during the event.  Of course, I was passed numerous times.

I hit the turnaround and my GPS read 6.8 miles.  Groovy.  Back to town we go.  The wind wasn’t much, but there was lots of water.  I tried to stay out of the puddles since I could feel them slow me down.  My feet were covered with road grime.  Luckily I was wearing my boot covers and my feet were dry.  The bottoms of my legs were covered in gunk and the shoulders of my jacket were covered in snot from drippy snot-rockets that missed their mark to the side of the road.

Since this was the return trip I tried to keep the pressure on.  Get that negative split.  But I was getting pretty tired and was lacking some motivation.  I just felt flat.  No fire in the gut.  ‘What is my issue?’  I need a boost.  Not sure where to get it.

Here came the finish and I powered across the line, shouting out my race number to the timers since it was pinned upside down.  I had about 3 minutes left to go the full 40 minutes so I kept pushing it a bit and then hit my timer at 40 minutes.  I did not negative split the event like I wanted but managed to average 19.7 the first 20 minutes and 19.3 the last 20 minutes.  But even better was my lactate threshold heart rate increased to 144, a sign of improved fitness. 

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