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The 40km Project – Part X


Now think about all that you’ve accomplished in the last hour.

Now count to 23.

Those 23 seconds don’t seem very significant compared to the last hour, do they?

Unfortunately, in the ‘race of truth,’ 23 seconds is a significant amount of time. And that’s the amount of time I wished I had in hand at the end of the Calabogie 40km Time Trial this morning. As you know if you’ve been following my posts in this series, my goal is to complete the 40km Calabogie course in less than one hour. Today, I completed it in my fastest time ever; yet I’m not happy. Why? Because it was still 23 seconds too slow. I stopped the clock at 60:22.

Unlike last time, I went in with much higher expectations this month. I have been riding well, and took more care to taper, sleep and eat properly leading up to this morning’s effort. In some ways, it paid off, as a Personal Best is a Personal Best, no matter how you look at it. In other ways, it’s very disappointing…

LG Rocket Air

LG Rocket Air

I arrived this morning to see some fast folks out–Alex and Matt among them. Matt was (no joke) riding his cyclocross bike–albeit with road wheels and some clip-on aero bars. I’m not ashamed to say that Matt riding a ‘cross bike with a 50-11 was able to destroy me; it just proves that despite all the focus on toys, it’s the engine that really counts. However, speaking of toys, today was my first race with the new (to me) aero helmet. It’s an LG Rocket Air. If you believe the numbers, this was perhaps the only reason I PB’d today. If you believe the numbers. I think there may be some truth to them, as I wasn’t feeling particularly strong today, and actually surprised myself a bit with the result.

Not much to report on the race–I lined up just in front of Dave, who was followed by Alex and Matt. Knowing these guys were breathing down my neck, I went out hard. I thought I was going well, and was feeling pretty good for about 10km. It was then that I noticed I was gaining no time on my minute man…and became slightly frustrated! And at the 13km mark, the hill got to me again (just like last time!). It’s not really that steep, but for some reason it just saps the strength and momentum. I’m certain if I attack this hill properly next time, I can get 23 seconds right there. There’s no way I should be going 20-something km/hr in a TT!

By the 15km mark, I finally passed my minute man, and then a couple of others before the turn around. Immediately after the turn, I perhaps went a bit too easy on the hill…another spot where improvement can be made (it’s amazing how easy that is to say after the fact, isn’t it?) Shortly after the turn, Matt came by me…like I was standing still…on his ‘cross bike. Note of course that this also means he passed Alex and Bilenkey…yikes. I was expecting both to have passed me before Matt did, but no!  It turns out I was able to hold off both in the end, although they both finished with faster times than me (again, no surprise!) Alex turned in an excellent time!

Once again I seem to be weaker on the return leg of the TT. It must be mental, as it has significantly less climbing and almost always has a tailwind. I don’t know if this is a function of my less-than-ideal aero position, or my lower overall power output, but I can’t seem to ever gain time on the return leg. I guess my power-to-weight ratio helps me on the first leg, but my lower overall power output hurts me when heading back in.

With 1km to go, I was able to see the finish, as well as one lone rider between me and the line. I made it my goal to catch him, and did so with 20m or so to go after a really hard effort. Again, I think the fact that I can go that hard at the end means I am not going hard enough the rest of the time. I should be completely spent at the line, not sprinting! Looking at my HR data, it also seems that I spent about 5 less minutes in my top HR Zone than last month. In other words, I think I took it too easy. Again, it’s a mental block I think. I guess that leaves lots of room for improvement for next time!  I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

P.S. I’ll leave you with my song of the day. And no, it’s not MGMT:

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