Friday, September 4, 2009

Swanton ITT 9/3/09

by Nils "Bullet" Tikkanen (thank you for the kind words, Mark!)

I love this time trial so much that I'm almost more interested in a 27:xx time than Cat 2 upgrade points. This was the last event of 2009, so I really wanted to make it count. My 3x6' on Alpine Rd. on the TT bike on Wednesday felt miserable; I took that to mean that Thursday would be a good day (funny how that works sometimes).

As usual, I ride out to the start, working in a few short solid-state efforts and continually working on positioning subtleties for the conditions. Should I sit farther forward with my hands farther up the bars? What's the best angle for my head? It's nice to have an hour to recall a fairly optimal TT position.

Again as usual, I show up late and am stuck in line for 15+ minutes. It's always a little frustrating to lose a fraction of your warm-up's benefit, but such is life. I chatted with Ana, whom I recognized from the Aptos Station rides, while we waited for our turn.

My goals: stay mostly seated, keep a good cadence, and finish in under 28 minutes (hey, I can dream!). Swanton Road is a tough course, always hilly, never easy to find a good rhythm. The first leg always hurts the most, especially for a non-climber on a TT bike like myself. The 1-mile climb at the end is probably my weakest link on the course. But then you hit the turnaround, and it all gets better. :)

Being intimately familiar with the descent has its advantages. A max speed of 41mph surely is worth a few seconds. That said, I'm always conservative at the final tricky 15mph-advised left-hander. After that, it's all about speeding back with the help of a tailwind. A few short but painful climbs at the end, and then a final stretch. Digging deep, I accelerate over the top of the last climb and drop it into the 13T. My body is screaming for me to stop. Then 12T. I can barely see straight as I fly across the finish line. And then it's over.

How did I do? No way did I break 28:00 -- I knew that after seeing my time split before I started the climb, and confirmed it at the turnaround: ~16:30 was not fast enough on the first leg. However, I did manage to break my old personal record by a whopping 4 seconds! 28:18.

27:59 will have to wait for next year! Thanks to the great SCCCC guys who put this event on.


Mark Edwards said...

Stunning time Nils! Way to go! A sub-27 is in your near future. Keep up those L4 workouts.

Dennis the Mennis said...

Another PB! Way to go Nils!

Satin Matt said...

..Nils the Bullet...much nicer ring to it than Mark the Local Shmutz whose pedals keep falling off!

Nice job Nils!