Sunday, February 6

Cycling: First Test

I've just completed my first (little) test of the season, an "indoor" 10k ITT. This for those living in more temperate climates, a odd affair. In a local community center, one of the local cycling club sets up 5 Computrainer stations for 10 cyclists to ride at time. We are weighed and the trainer calibrated to simulate a 10k (6.2 mile) ride. My time today was 15:33. My race "report" follows.

I arrived a little more than an hour early. I set my bike up on my trainer to warm up. I signed in (and signed my release form, legal crap required at every race). I had a teammate there and we talked about his ride and chatted as I warmed my legs up. We were in a smallish classroom and it got hot pretty quickly. While warming up, I kept hydrated and ate one GU packet (100 calories, of sugar + caffeine).

Time trials are a funny beast, especially on the trainers because you have so much data staring at you (and no road). In the past, I always go out too hard and die at about 4 miles. Today with my daughter there and teammate, I decided to start out "conservative". I had planned to start at 290 watts and ramp it up after the half way point. Of course, once I was on the trainer that went a little out the window but not so much that it mattered. I got the bike on the trainer, the official calibrated it and I had about 5 minutes to get acclimated. I felt good, and decided to try to go it at 300 watts. One last GU packet.

Then Go!. Out of the saddle, I went "hard" for 15 seconds to get my speed up and settled in at 300 watts. The first mile felt easy, I thought, "gee" maybe I should go a little harder, but I decided not to do that. At 3.1 miles (halfway) I again thought about going harder, but that seemed a little less likely. By 4 miles, I was struggling to keep it up. My wattage kept dropping to 280, I'd struggle switch gears lower or higher trying to find a cadence which would feel a little easier. I kept coming back to a cadence of 90 rpm, which is what I normally like. At 6 miles, on the computer screen I could see the finish line, Ken (my teammate) hollered encouragement, I shifted stood on the pedals and punched it until about 4 pedal strokes from the line when I collapsed back to the saddle and spun it out to the finish. 15:33 is a little more than 20 seconds better than my last pre-season best. I finished with a 297 watt average.