Day 1 of the festivities began with a cool morning uphill time trial. My roommate and I awoke dark and early overcome with eagerness of the day to come. The alarm was set for 0530 but neither of us actually needed it. The coffee was brewing 10 minutes later and Nationsnumber1beast was on the TV getting us motivated. Coffee of choice was Roasters Choice from Bell Lap Coffee. We all know that the best way to wake up is not having hotel knock off Folgers in your cup. While enjoying the coffee I decide to take a step outside for some fresh air. I was startled by the brisk air. It was in the high 40s but luckily projected to be around 60 when I went off for the TT.
I left the hotel room at 0700 because I wanted to make a quick detour to the local car wash. I was planning on washing my bike the night prior but ended up putting it off. After a quick $1 wash I was off to Devil’s Den State Park. My start time was 09:27 and I planned on getting there around 0800. The drive was on twisty rural roads that took you up and over a couple of mountains. It was definitely a great drive to the base of the TT. I did end up arriving around 0800 and quickly came to the conclusion that I was there too early. So I went to the bathroom and sat in the car for 20 minutes listening to some podcasts. At 0820ish I did a 2 minute power pose to get the testosterone up and get in the zone. So the parking area was in a little valley with no real flat area to warmup. Not really a problem since the event is an uphill TT. Might as well use the climbs to warmup the climbing muscles. Just needed to keep it in the little gear. My warmup plan was 40-50 minutes with a couple 1 minute power testers.
So being an engineer and a former triathlete I really wanted to nail down a TT power plan. What is the best way to do this? The team over at Best Bike Split have done a phenomenal job with their race prediction tool. The website is very easy to use, even the free version. All you have to do is plug in some numbers, like weight and FTP, as well as selecting what kind of gear you are using, like deep wheels or aero road bike. Best Bike Split has some general CD values depending on your gear selection that they use in their algorithm. I did use the wrong course to predict my time but the power plan for the first part stayed relatively the same. I used the longer professional course (.7 miles longer) compared to the amateur course. The amateur course is 1.8 miles long at an average gradient of 6.4% which includes 7 switchbacks. Best Bike Split uses all of the data and gives you a power plan graph and split chart, like seen below.
How well did I execute? I would say I executed the plan perfectly and even adjusted my power output slightly to account for the shorter distance. I was definitely nervous pulling up to the start line, but not as nervous as I thought I would be. So I am sitting in the gate, clipped in, watching the clock click up. “10 seconds” says the USAC official. I take a couple deep breaths to relax. “5, 4, 3, 2,” and what feels like a minute the beep finally rings out. I shoot out of the tent in the perfect gear. My legs feel powerful as I currean through the initial technical section. It takes me a minute to get to the climb proper in which I averaged 537w (7.16w/kg) to reach. At this point I remember the odd thought cross my mind, “I am working so hard but I am going so slowly.” Obviously this is the case because it is a freaking uphill time trial. But for that split second my mind couldn’t grasp this simple fact and expected to be going 30mph. Up the road is the athlete that went off 30 seconds prior to me. I set my sights on him and lay down the power. For the next 6 minutes I chase him up the climb averaging 426w (5.68w/kg). With each pedal stroke I get closer and closer to him. I knew that making up 30 seconds on the climb would be pretty big. As soon as it started though, it was over. I crest the top of the climb right on his rear wheel. His teammate, who is starting to come down the mountain, points to the finish line up the road. I honestly wasn’t expecting the finish to be right there. I popped out of my saddle and increased my power to average 500w for the final minute. I finished in 8:14 seconds which essentially created a three way tie for second.