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The 40km Project – Part IX

The 40km Project (and this blog in general) have been quiet lately, as I’m sure all one of my readers noticed! Obviously, the 40km Project has been quiet because the TT season has been hibernating for the winter. Well, it’s now back :) Lack of updates on the blog, however, point to less happy thoughts.  Similar to what Kirsten Sweetland said, when an athlete stops writing, you know that something is wrong.  For me, that something has been a combination of  sickness after sickness this spring, poor weather, and some of my recurring lower back issues. A (possibly Noro-) Virus left me feeling terrible at the beginning of April, and I haven’t been feeling right since. Slow improvement is all I am getting (better than the alternative, I suppose…)

However, I’m far from laid up–I’m still well enough to ride and ‘train’ almost as usual–I just haven’t been feeling quite as strong as I’d hoped for June.  I foolishly thought that attempting the first Calabogie 40km TT this morning would be a good idea. Since I have put a total of 60km on the TT bike since the last Calabogie TT, I busted out the “It’s just like riding a bike–you can’t forget!” line of reasoning, and decided to go for it.  Since I had low/no expectations going in to the TT, I decided not to do any specific preparation for it; no proper training/resting/eating, etc.. The idea was to simply get a benchmark for how I’m feeling. That means that Steve, Chris, Matt, James and I did 120km yesterday through the Lanark Highlands, which I followed up with a late (for me) night at Jay’s birthday party/BBQ. Not exactly optimal pre-TT preparation!

I think two paragraphs of excuses should be enough…right? Lets get to it!

I woke up this morning at the ungodly hour of 5:45am and was soon on my way to Calabogie for the morning. I was less stressed than usual; going in with low expectations helps that! I passed a few riders already out warming up as I drove to the boat launch. I took my time changing and getting the bike ready, then rolled out for a 20min warm-up. I returned for registration, and got #22 (of 22 riders) which put me right in the middle of the group (numbers start at 11 and the fastest rider today had #32). I had time for another bit of warmup before rolling up to the start line. The weather was perfect for TT’ing–18 degrees or so, with very little wind. Not super sunny either, but not too dark. Perfect!

I started with a hold from Les, and was off. I (unconsciously) didn’t completely destroy myself off the line this time, and was able to ramp the heart rate up without blowing myself up immediately. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, or if  I should stick with the ‘let the adrenaline push you through the first wall’ theory that has worked for me previously…) I tried to settle into a rhythm, and was mostly successful. Unfortunately, the rhythm was a bit slower than I had hoped! I seemed to be making zero progress on my minute-man, and by 10km in had only 20 seconds out of his lead. Uh oh! This calculation must have fired me up a bit, because I picked it up and was soon in a lot of pain as I hit the hill at km 13. I apparently went well beyond my lactate threshold for too long, and my legs just gave up on me. I slowed to 22km/hr (yikes!) and crawled up the hill on the bullhorns. This was the low point of the race both physically and mentally, as I considered (as always happens at least once a race) if I should just cut my losses and pack it in. However, Young the Giant was playing in my head “My body tells me ‘No,’ but I won’t quit, ’cause I want more.”

The little mental game helped pushed me through the 13km wall, and I (luckily!) started to feel better. Soon I was back up to speed and now putting noticeable time into those in front of me.  Soon I had passed two riders, and the mental boost helped me push hard until I passed three (maybe four?) more before the turn around. I made the turn at the 21km mark, then passed Flavia shortly afterwards on the first uphill.

For some reason, the 19 km return leg always seems harder to me than the 21km start section, despite being shorter and having significantly less climbing (156m of gain on the way out vs. only 84 on the return leg.) Today, the return leg was also into the wind, although there was barely enough of that to comment on. It must be a mental block–it really should be a much easier ride going back! I had (incorrectly, apparently) calculated that there were only 6 riders in front of me (there were 7) and I set about picking them off. I knew one of them would be hard, as a  new rider (Greg, I find out later) was incorrectly placed since he had no prior results.) Also, I knew Shawn H. was in front of me, and if he was having a good day, would be tough to catch.

I was making very slow progress on an OBC rider in front of me, to the point of actually losing time on the flat or downhill sections, and only gaining on the uphills. Not good! I almost thought I was going backwards, until he slowed enough for me to put some visible time into his lead. I managed to pass him and then a couple more riders as well by about 6 km to go. At four k to go, I was in a world of pain, and thought I wasn’t going to make it. I kept telling myself that it was less than the distance from Glen Tay to the Pool, which we regularly hammer on Perth rides. If I could do that, then I could do four more km on a TT bike! With no one in sight ahead of me, I had nothing to aim for except the finish line, which was still out of sight.  I had, until 1km to go, managed to avoid the temptation of looking at the time. I had no clue if I was well outside my goal time, or exactly how close I was going to be. I had a sneaking suspicion from looking at my speed that I wasn’t going to make it sub-hour without a miracle. At 1km to go, I checked the time, and was at 1:00:17 (or something like that–already over the hour anyway.) I swore loudly but kept going as the finish came in to sight. Pushing through, I felt like I was weaving all over the road from exhaustion, but had enough wits to call out my number and notice Les taking photos as I crossed. I checked the time and stopped the computer a few meters across the line, and it stopped at 1:01:43. Crap!

I stood with Greg and watched a few more riders finish (some with excellent times) then rolled back to the parking lot for a protein shake, towel off and change. John had results soon after, and 7 (!) riders were sub-hour. My official time came in at 1:01:15, for an average of 39.18 km/hr.

Overall, I was happy with the day. Going in with few expectations after a spring of sickness, and coming out only 17 seconds slower than my personal best was more than I had expected. Obviously, I was really hoping to crack the hour, but realistically knew it wasn’t going to happen at this point in the season! That’s what the next one is for ;) This week is looking good, with Cérvelo éRide on Thursday, and the Rideau Jamie Lakes Tour on the weekend, which is always a fun time!


Pingback from DARREN COPE » The 40km Project – Part X
Time July 10, 2011 at 4:30 pm

[…] last time, I went in with much higher expectations this month. I have been riding well, and took more care to […]

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