Saturday, April 29, 2006

The return of fred

Saturday, 29 April

A girlie digression. I rode home from work yesterday via the Burke Gilman Trail. This is normally a boring, bumpy way to get a few extra miles. But on Friday it was heavenly. It was a warm afternoon, and all the lilacs and everything else in bloom smelled SO GOOD. I really pitied everyone who has to drive a car to work.

And on Saturday, for once, the rain in the forecast didn’t materialize until AFTER our race. That made conditions at the Green Valley TT pretty close to ideal. A little bit of wind, but not enough to push me around. I heard a complaint that it could’ve been warmer, but no wind and no rain is just fine by me.

I prerode most of the course for my warmup. Nope, nothing new out there since we raced on 10 miles of this 11.5-mile course at the Ice Breaker TT in early March. I was one of the first riders off so I could get back in time to do the whole thing again on the tandem. Martin was chasing me…again…and I asked him to please not catch me quite as soon as last time. It was good to see Kitty being the starter; she was a fixture of my early years of racing. The problem today was that about 30 seconds before my start, she asked “are you still officiating a lot?” I should have left it with a yes/no answer, but there isn’t one, and I got distracted and stopped paying attention to those little rituals you do just before your start. So when she said “3-2-1-go” and I stood up, I discovered that my right foot wasn’t clipped into the pedal. I think there are penalties for the words I said as I tried to recover from that oops move.

But once I was all clipped in (too many pedal strokes later), it felt pretty good. I rode some on the 55x12 but never got down to the 11. I think I was pushing a pretty big gear most of the time, and maybe I should’ve been spinning more. But I didn’t get bogged down. Martin didn’t pass me until more than 5 miles into the course—not long before the turnaround. I kept the gap pretty constant to the turn, but then he pulled away. That road must be more uphill on the return than anyone notices!

I consciously tried to work even harder from the 1K sign to the finish, and my legs were so tired that I wondered how on earth I was going to be able to do this a second time. And there wasn’t much recovery time at this race. I rolled around a little, went back to the parking lot, hopped on the tandem, and we cruised up and down a little bit. My stomach could not bear the thought of a gel, so I had to go with whatever breakfast was left in me. As we approached the start, I reminded Martin that we were still in the middle chain ring and we should probably race in the big ring. Neither of us was very excited about that switch to reality; spinning an easier gear was much nicer for tired legs.

More chatting before this start. Mick was in front of us and Les was behind us, so there was someone strong to chase and another to hold off. We still don’t stand up for these starts, so it seems like it takes a long time to get up to speed on the tandem. But once we’ve settled in and I get down into my bars, it’s just pedal pedal pedal. I can't see when there’s a bend in the road. Fortunately, there are only gentle turns on this course so I didn’t quite tip over when Martin leaned into the turns. Several people commented on how fast we were going when we passed them, but I only saw one person go by in my peripheral vision. No standing up after the turnaround, either, which is kind of funny because both of us barely sit on the saddle as we try to put more power to the pedals to wind it up again.

Bottom line for the day: Fred and her pedal inattentiveness got beaten by a second, but my time was 26 seconds faster than last year. On the tandem, we were 19 seconds slower than last year. What’s up with that?

The view from the front of the tandem is here.
Race results are here.

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