Last night was the first installment of the Elkhart time trials this year. Actually the first one was rained out so this was the first time we actually got to ride. I pretty much confirmed my suspicions last night, yup, I'm slow! Actually, I'm sure there are a host of reasons I could use as an excuse, but overall my body and fitness just weren't up to par.
I did a 10-15 minute warmup getting my heart up to zone 4 for a little bit and could tell it was going to be a rough night. My legs just felt heavy and the harder I pushed the more I wanted to slow down. Once I got to the line I felt slightly better, but after the first mile or so I was all ready feeling it. I concentrated on putting my head down, keeping my heart rate close to 175-180 and pushed on. I tried different cadence and everything, but it wasn't doing.
Roughly 1/3 of the way in, I was passed by an All 9 yards guy named Jerome and he was flying. Unfortunately for me, he was in the same class: Eddy Mercxx. The rules of the class are pretty simple- no aero gear and go as fast as you can. I figured I'd sign up for this one as I'd at least be up against guys with similar gear as I figured that it was about as likely for me to lose to them as the cat 4/5 guys with full aero rigs. I also figured there would be fewer people in this class. I know I was right on that count, I just need to see how I finished out overall to see if it was the right choice.
In any case, after Jerome passed me, I had sight of the woman in front of me and concentrated on realing her in. I managed to catch her about a mile after the turn and kept the gap opening further up. I can at least say I passed a person on a TT effort now. Of course that's still not worth much when you only average 20.7 mph for the effort. I hammered as much as possible fighting a slight head/mostly cross wind on the way back and crossed the line just about crosseyed and heaving like no other. At least I didn't feel like I left much out there.
I do need to check my seat height though as I felt like there was a disconnect with my positioning and leg extension. I really need to work on my core strength as well. I noted when I made the turn that my back/stomach/sides were all ready hurting due to the effort I was putting in to keep my upper body tucked and still. I also need to get some longer tempo rides in. 1 ride of 50 miles on the road thus far this year is definitely not enough to get my endurance where I want it. Gravel grinders don't do much other than prep you for a long ass slog in the saddle and pounding out some slow miles.
Overall I think I was almost a minute slower than my effort last year which had an average speed of almost 22 mph and was just shy of breaking 20 minutes. My goal this year is to break 20 minutes. I know it's easily in my grasp, I just need to put the work in to get there.