Friday, April 1, 2011

How NOT to pace a TT!

Fast Splits Time Trial at the Multisport Expo at MIT
I did this time trial last year as my first ever time trial. I really had no idea about power or what I was getting myself into at that time, but somehow pretty much exactly one year later, I felt like a super rookie again! Maybe because coach Jorge signed me up to go in the same heat as the elite/pro girls - the likes of Karen Smyers, Kristen Gohr - local pro cyclist, and Crystal Anthony who is training for the TT worlds this year!  Perhaps I should be a bit intimidated by these big names!

I really had a busy Saturday. I was leaving for 11 day trip to Europe the next day and I was only half way packed! I really didn’t have much time to think about this event, but I made my way over to the expo couple of hours before race start, and got my head in the game. Coach Jorge couldn’t be there, but I sure saw many familiar faces, and it was great to catch up with everyone! J

It was finally my turn to go. I got in a great 20 min + warm up with some pickups, and was ready for the show to get started or I should say for the pain to begin! I know by now what these all out efforts are all about! They sure can be extremely rewarding, or humbling! The power meter doesn’t lie! You either have it or you don’t! These tests or time trials are all about even pacing, and I have learned the hard way to not go out too hard because sustaining the super high power for 20 min is near impossible. My best results from the past resulted from a very even pacing or power that would increase as time went on and NOT the other way around.

This was a 6.03 mile time trial so I knew it will take a sub 20 min effort to make it happen. The goal was to try to stick around 240 watts as last time I tested I was around 232 watts. All was great, until we actually got hooked up to the computrainers, and the gun went off.  I honestly lost all senses and started to hammer! I felt great, I felt awesome, and I was hanging in with the big girlz! NOOOOOOT the best idea! As much as I knew I was shooting for around 240 Watts and a nice steady 6.03 mile trip through the hills of Central Park, I was keepin up with the pro’s! Now you can all try to guess without reading any further how long that lasted.

I hung with them for about the first 5 min or 2 or so miles, and then it all went downhill from there! And I mean downhill, straight into the pain cave! I was clearly NOT thinking, and got lost in the heat of the moment – NEVER again do I want to do that! I most definitely had some bad thoughts going through my head knowing I still had 3 or so miles left of this! Ouch! Here are some numbers to show you how “stupid” I was!

Last time I tested back in January my 5 min power was 262 Watts. Today, 1st 5 min of the TT, my power was 266 Watts! 4 watts higher! Now, that’s awesome if this was a 5 min test, but I wasn’t done yet.  I had another 4 miles (13 minutes)  to go! Ooooops! No wonder anything from the 2.5 mile mark onwards felt like eternity.  I was hurting! I managed to hang on to some power, even though it was as hard as ever - burning legs, and screaming lungs would be an understatement. The 6.03 mile mark couldn’t come fast enough! I ended up with average power of 242 Watts for my 17 min and 13 second effort. 10 watts higher than my last test, and on the way to 250, so I am pretty happy about that, but I am not so happy with going out so hard and making myself suffer for good majority of the TT. Lesson learned! After talking with Jorge, he said if I didn’t go nuts the first 5 min, I could have probably gone 245 – 250 watts! I’ll take his word for it!

Coming out of this TT, I also want a new toy! I want to get the computrainer!
J  Since ALL winter – and this winter was, or should I say is so super freaking LONG, I am very much used to riding in one or two gears only, and pushing a steady pace not having to worry about shifting at all. The downhills on this course KILLED me! The thought of riding different courses, and once I may be racing on sounds oh so very appealing!

In the end, I had a blast, and I didn’t come in last – Karen Smyers beat me by about 25 seconds and Crystal A. by 10 seconds .. dammit! It is times like this when I wonder what my power could be if I was strictly concentrating on cycling. I learned a lot from this TT! I am now more confident than ever that 250 watts will be coming my way soon … :) … just have to pace it right!!!!!!!! … and perhaps not take 10 day work trips to Europe? Getting on my bike next week will sure be interesting! J

Final Results in numbers: TT - 6.03 miles – 17:10 min – 242 avg. watts (4.2 watts/kg) – my max power – 535 Watts in the opening seconds … OOPS! I can feel the matches burning now! :)

The blog about my European adventure is up next, and with that bunch of work, not much sleep, and bunch of running, which allowed me to czech out some very cool cities, and re-visit some childhood memories! 

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