Friday, February 01, 2008

First Bike Time Trial

It reminded me a lot of the first time I went skydiving. Something I dreaded and looked forward to at the same time. Both scary and exciting. Foolish, yet "necessary."

The guys got to go first, shortly after sunset when there was still a little bit of light out. Who decided that, I don't know, but the fact is I don't see that well at night and that made me more nervous than anything else.

At least we'd ridden the entire 7.3 mile out-and-back course as a warm-up so we could become familiar with it. There were two dips where the road went under overpasses, sewer gratings on the side to avoid, and a little debris on the road but nothing too bad. Before the turnaround, there was a noticeable bend in the road to the right and several cones had been placed on the side to mark the turn. The wind was mostly helping on the way back.

But that was before it got dark. By the time it was my turn, the route was lit only by some streetlights and looked completely different. It was eerily quiet except for my loud breathing and felt similar to riding in a tunnel with nothing much visible on the sides. I had this fear that something would suddenly appear in front of me and cause me to crash.

Each rider had been separated by 30 seconds so I saw no one for about a mile. With no landmarks to give me an indication of how fast I was going and a bike computer that I couldn't see well, I ended up riding mostly by feel. Later though, I started seeing some bike tail lights and turned all my focus towards catching them, good or not. I passed one and, at the turnaround, was about to pass two more but saw some car headlights approaching on the other side. CRAAAP!!!

Knowing the course had no traffic control and my depth perception was screwed in the dark, I decided to slow down and wait until the car had passed. One woman in front of me darted in front of it but the other rider, who turned out to be a teenager, waited like I did. Better safe than sorry, I told the kid.

I caught the Darter soon afterwards, though, and pedaled furiously thinking that she might try to pass me back. With about a mile or so to go, a guy with a disc wheel whirred past me (anyone who didn't pre-register went after everyone else who had) and then a woman on a road bike, who was not the Darter. I tried my best to catch her but settled for not allowing her to get out of my sight.

Final results:

Me - 19:18, avg speed 21.17 mph (4/11 Females, 1/4 F40-49)
Dave - 20:04, avg speed 20.36 mph

Dave, unfortunately, missed seeing the cones on the side during his time trial and ended up going about a 1/2 mile further than he should have (and we'd find out later that he was not the only one). Still, it's the first time he's raced since he blew out his knees in 1988, so a big accomplishment just to get back out there.

Overall, I'm pleased with my first bike time trial performance but thought I should be able to go faster on such a short course. The 3 women who posted faster times than me had done time trials before but were also all in the F50-59 AG, which I find encouraging.

Next time trial is February 26. We're in!

19 comments:

akshaye said...

That was a good time trial! Very strange about doing it in the dark though.

Wendy said...

Good job by you both -- especially in the dark!!!!

(You are so right about the better safe than sorry adage!)

ShirleyPerly said...

Yeah, these TTs are held after work on Wednesday nights so we'll be riding in limited light conditions until probably summer. Jumping out of a plane was much easier the second time and so hopefully riding hard in the dark will be too :-)

Susan said...

Go Dave!!!

Way to go, my friend. You really rallied against several obstacles and still kicked butt. Whoo hoo!

MarathonChris said...

Congrats to both of you! Now that you have the first one under your belt, you should do great the next time.

Maddy said...

Awesome job Shirley! Congrats to you and Dave! The next one should be easier now that you know how it goes...

Petraruns said...

Well done both of you - I can't believe you had to do all that in the dark and with traffic - good call on waiting for the car - always a good call..

Iron Eric said...

Awesome TT!! What great speed!

Fe-lady said...

Can I call you "speedy"? Nice pace lady! Whew!

Cliff said...

So the older you are, the faster you get? :)

Interesting..i would love to do a TT someday..

Brent Buckner said...

Way to take the bull by the horns!

peter said...

Sounds like experience counts for a lot in TTs, you're likely to be even faster in the next one. Congrats to you and Dave for such good first races.

21 MPH is pretty fast.

jen said...

Wow- great time! Congrats to both of you!

Rural Girl said...

Awesome job, Shirley. Fast, fast, fast.

nylisa said...

Awesome!!

BreeWee said...

WHOA! GREAT timing for this post Shirley! Tomorrow Kona has a big time trial (quick! Fly out!!). You got my heart all excited and racing now... VROOM!
Way to ride woman! Looks like your season is off to a super speedy start!

lizzie lee said...

Hats off to you Shirley!!!

IrishBlue said...

Great job to you and Dave. That is strange riding in the dark I bet.

Thanks for inspiring women like me (slightly younger, much more out of shape ;~) that we can improve with age and still have dreams. You're amazing.

CewTwo said...

I agree, you are amazing!

The race report was a winner (as always).

Thanks for sharing!