Friday, March 19, 2010

TT's and Crits - Love and Hate

Last Saturday was the first TT of the season, the Cronometro in Manor. I managed to finish my TT bike a few days before and I haven't really done any TT work in the past 4 months so I was a little rusty. It was supposed to be a rolling 12 mile course but after reviewing the elevation profile online it didn't look that bad. The supposed "biting" hill looked fairly mild. This race was an age-based race as opposed to a normal category-based race so my group was made up of Pro, Cat 1s and Cat 2s with a few of us Cat 3 or lower mixed in.

I headed up to Manor on Saturday but got around a little late. I had about 15-20 minutes of warm-up and then headed to the start ramp. The course started with a slight rolling descent and a tailwind. I quickly settled in and started to remember what a TT felt like but had the nagging thought that I was probably going to hard at the start since I haven't been training for this effort. I continued to feel strong as I made the right turn and encountered the rolling portion of the course. I came around a bend and saw the "biting" hill in the distance and it looked steeper then I thought but not so long I couldn't get out of the saddle and power over it. I arrived at the hill and started to climb. About 2/3s up I realized it was longer and steeper then expected and I should have dropped to my small ring and spun over it instead of standing up in the big ring and powering over it. I finally made it over but not without taking some spark out of my legs and tried to settle back into a rhythm. I couldn't find the power for a while and I was soon caught by Pat McCarty (a Pro) and later near the finish by Aaron Hill (a Cat 1). I finished with 27:42 which was 7th in my age group (that was almost all Pro's or Cat 1's ahead of me including the State TT record holder) and 17th out of about 120 overall. Not a bad result for the first TT of the season. Looking forward to the next one.... I love TT's!!!

Sunday, after getting up at 4:30 am after daylight savings switched to get my beautiful wife to the airport, I groggily headed to the local University Crit for the Open race. Historically I don't like criterium s. They are typically short loops run over an hour which gets very repetitive and dull. They also tend to have a lot of tight corners which leads to bumping and sometimes crashing. Every season I tell myself to go out there, I'll be fine, my bike handling has improved, and I'll settle in but I always find myself hating them. This race I had a good warm-up but a crash in a prior race put doubts in my mind and as soon as the race started, I was second guessing all the corners which caused me to drop back and off the group very quickly. Within the first 15 minutes of the start I was done and pulled from the course before I was lapped. The reality is that my riding strengths don't lend themselves to success in crits and the possible cost (ugly crashes) simply is not worth the very slim (it would have to be a miracle) chance of a good result. So I have my annual crit out of the way to confirm I hate them and I will stick to my circuit, road, TT, or cross racing. I think that's enough...... I hate crits!!

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