Sunday, August 10, 2008

2008 US Elite National Championship Time Trial

While at the time trial for the Summer Solstice Stage Race, I overheard another racer say "Time trialling is about pain: if it feels good you're not going hard enough."

Whoever designed this TT course was of that school. There was climbing. And then descending. And then more climbing. All in the sun. All in dry, California heat. Needless to say, it was hard. Really hard.

My performance was rather disappointing. With a time of 0:59:17, I managed a DFL almost 15 minutes behind the winner. No PM sitings at the TT; guess he's saving his legs for Sunday's road race. TIBCO's Ms. Miller was also saving her legs, and that paid off.

Beatrix is still not quite tuned in how I would like, so I'll be sending some photos to Sean and Mike V. at Bike Authority as soon as I can track down a tripod so they can help me work through the fit.

Oh, and I did manage to get a few pictures. They're posted at my Picasa site.

Perhaps I'll have a better time next year. That's all for now, folks!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The start time list was posted for Wednesday's time trial, and it turns out I'm not the only Clevelander who will be throwing down in Anaheim. From Texas Roadhouse, Paul Martin managed to snag bib number one, starting next to last of the Elite Men at 9:35. He's signed up for the road race, too; knowing that, I might be heading down to watch over the weekend. Our hometown hero Brooke Miller of Team TIBCO, made famous by Snakebite's own JimmyNick, starts at 9:49. Your's truly starts at 9:26, nine minutes ahead of PM, and twenty-three minutes forward of Brooke.

Today got me thinking about my goals for this race. I'm not well prepared, and my overall fitness level has certainly dropped since the Summer Solstice Stage Race in June. At the same time, I have far superior equipment to my last time trial. With that in mind, my goals for Wednesday are as follows:

3.) Finish in under 48 minutes.
Fifty minutes for a 33km course works out to 25.63 mph. This would be a moderate improvement over my last two time trials (22.89 mph and 24 mph, respectively). Of course, neither of them were nearly this long, but Paul Martin wasn't chomping at my heels either.

2.) Don't break myself.
Some would argue that this should be priority one. I argue that while I can heal for free, the bike cannot.

1.) Don't break the bike.
While Beatrix and I are new to each other, I like her a lot and I don't want her to run away just yet. Of course if she doesn't behave, David Miller might be onto something...

0.) Ride my race, not someone else's, and represent my team with honor alongisde my fellow cyclists.
My high school cross country coach always said "Run your race, not someone else's." I have no illusions about the caliber of riders I'm up against. I'm going to get passed. I can't hold a pro-level time trial pace for more than a few hundred yards. I'm going so I can pour every watt my legs can generate into the pedals for 33 km of beautiful California roads, while surrounded by some of the best cyclists in the country. I'm going to get a benchmark, get some exposure, and meet some SoCal teams. I'm going because for me, showing up is half the fun. And hanging out with a bunch of other cyclists, surrounded by bike porn, watching people turn in blistering time trials, is plenty of fun indeed.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

On Training and Things

Saturday saw me spend pretty much the entire day on the bike. This is the first time I've put the aerobars onto the Soloist, and getting them positioned took a little trial and error. I also picked up a set of Specialized S-Works road shoes on clearance last week, and I took the day to get my cleat position dialed in, too.

I met up with Jonathan G., a fellow rider I met randomly while he was changing a flat. I stopped to offer assistance, and we ended up riding together the rest of the way back home, since we both live in the same neighborhood. We headed towards the coast and cruised down to Manhattan Beach. At one point I looked up and noticed six guys, heading the opposite direction, holding a nice tight group two abreast. All with shaved legs. All riding high end De Rosas with Campagnolo Record spec. That was about when I realized that I had just passed the Rock Racing squad. Jonathan and I did an about face and caught onto the back of the pack. Michael Ball was leading the pack, and Tyler Hamilton was there, too. We just said hey, asked about upcoming race plans, and parted ways. I'm quite glad that my first celebrity sighting out here was for the sport I love so much.

Oh, and the Soloist now has a name: Beatrix, after Beatrix Kiddo. Why, you ask? Because she's sexy, nimble, and takes down the competition at the knees.

Other than that, an uneventful week. Can't wait for Nationals on Wednesday!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Taking the Plunge...

The US Elite National Time Trial is in Anaheim this year. I will be there, representing Team Snakebite Racing to the best of my ability. This will be far and away the highest profile race I've ever done, and I don't feel anywhere near ready, but how often is the national championship for your favorite kind of race an hour away from your front door, on a day you already have off from work?