Sunday, 24 February
[My sanitized race report can be found after the Chilly Hilly report here: http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/velocity/archives/132590.asp. What follows is a little more blog-like. Some overlap, though.]
Funny thing about good weather. You get to a time trial, it's dry and the wind is calm and you think, "these are ideal conditions for a time trial." Wrong! They are ideal conditions for the rider's psyche but not for the rider's time against the clock. The Frostbite Time Trial in Lowell in 2007 was a wet, windy, cold, and miserable affair. Today it was dry and calm with a promise of sunshine. My time this year was more than a minute slower than last year! No water on the road to decrease rolling resistance; no wind to push that disk wheel on its merry way. Don't get me wrong: it didn't feel harder--I thought I'd had a great race. But there was nothing to work harder against and nothing to work with you. And maybe cold, wet, and miserable is a subconscious motivator to finish that little bit sooner?
The only thing marring today's event was one of those "that's bike racing" episodes. Due to some miscommunication, the course marshals didn't figure out where the turnaround was until about 40-50 riders had turned around. I was rider #3 to start and rider #1 to the turn. I didn't remember that the WSBA had a "200M to turnaround" sign, but there it was, presumably 200M from the turnaround. But no cone to be seen in the yellow line, no marshals. Ah wait, there's a cone on the shoulder, just waiting for someone to move it to the middle of the road--right where it had been when we prerode the course. And it must be right because just past it there are signs on the opposite side of the road for oncoming traffic. So I turned AT the cone if not AROUND the cone. O.A.D. was right behind me so I yelled at him to turn at the cone. One teammate behind him as well as one of my former tandem captains made the turn, but another teammate right behind kept going on to Snohomish ("what sign?"). On the way back, I was amused to see three marshals standing at ANOTHER cone by the side of the road in the middle of the course (they weren't there on my way out, but O.A.D said he saw their car pull in after I went by). They must have been totally puzzled by riders coming from the wrong direction and not turning at their orange cone!
The bottom line is that it's the rider's responsibility to know the course. Usually I am on the wrong side of that line (i.e., screwed and/or lost), but local knowledge and previous experience sure helped me out today. It was pretty cool to see a promoter respond without getting hysterical or panicked. I think most people (there were 200 folks in the race) didn't even know the problem had happened. Watch for this event to get even better in 2009!