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.
Official results are here: http://www.santacruzcycling.org/teamsc/timetrial/SwantonTTResults2009.htm#Sep
27:59 will have to wait for next year! Thanks to the great SCCCC guys who put this event on.