Sunday, 1 March
Today was the Icebreaker time trial near Black Diamond. Eleven years ago (less one week), I also raced on that course. My time on March 7, 1998, was exactly the same as my time for my second race on that course today: 25:04. If you had told me in 1998 that I'd be racing there in eleven years, I don't think I would have believed you. And if you had told me I would race TWICE, I am sure I wouldn't have believed you.
Race conditions today were just about perfect: a wet road for less rolling resistance, but no rain and virtually no wind. It was the first time I can ever remember being able to see the downhill on the course on the way out--it's so slight. And the way back is hard, but you know it's going to be and you just dig that little bit deeper. On my first ride, it took a while to settle into a gear after the start and after the turnaround, but both times it happened to be the 55x12 again. It is so much fun to roll out that course: it twists and turns with the only straightaways being before the turnaround and the finish. Since I failed to have much dialogue going on in my brain during last week's race, today I tried to remember to keep telling myself to ride harder.
After a 20-minute pause (spin, drink water), I started again. Ride number two was a bit interesting (and 29 seconds slower). I usually go out as hard as I can from a TT start and back down in bits until I find something I might be able to sustain. Well, there was no sense of going hard at the start of number two. It was just right back into the same rhythm. I guess that's good, but I missed the sense of "OMG I can't keep doing this!" But then it got really weird. I could not focus. Not my brain but my eyes. I was looking between the bottom of my helmet and the top of my glasses, and everything was all fuzzy. This was disconcerting and almost like not having a good sense of balance. If I tipped my head back and looked through the glasses (they're not prescription), I could see but my head was most unaero. I did this for about two miles, feeling like I was riding by instinct (which probably does not involve pushing oneself to one's limits) while trying to figure out the vision thing. I kept moving the glasses around, and I guess I finally found a better spot because the problem disappeared and then I felt like my brain was better focused on racing. Surprisingly, the way back seemed shorter the second time around--interminable, but shorter. :)
I rolled up and down and chatted with a few folks after ride number two. Only as I was walking the last 20 meters back to my car did I discover that the front brake was rubbing the tiniest little bit, just barely audible. Good for 5 seconds off my time, don't ya think?!
A couple of moments of levity. Annette started a minute behind me on ride number one. About halfway back from the turn, I heard a disc wheel coming by. I was really impressed for a split second--and then immensely relieved when I realized it had to be Flavio. And as I was rolling up and down the road between races, I kept seeing people in these new-fangled aero helmets with earflaps (to cut down on drag for anyone with ears like W's, I suppose). They looked like something out of the original Star Wars movie to cover up Princess Leia's cinnamon-roll hairdo.
So the prelude to the race season is over. I like easing into things with two time trials. I get into the routine of getting to races and getting ready to race, but the events themselves are short and I can still get home in time to....sit around, read Facebook, and cook some pretty tasty gluten-free muffins.