I am not sure if waking up at 5am to drive 3 hours to suffer for an hour to turn around and drive another 3 hours makes much sense but, nevertheless, that's what I did on Sunday. It figures that the first year I decide to race the ITT it is held across the mountains instead of Tenino, where it usually is, and which is about 15 min from where I now live. Oh well, so it goes. In addition to having to drive 3 hours, I also had to overcome a stomach bug I joyfully acquired just after Matava that had me feeling quite illin' last week. Though it didn't help my preparation it fortunately settled down enough for me to give it a go.
Going into the race I felt totally unprepared. Most of the TT's I have done have been 10-25k and this was 40k (appx. 25 miles). I was hoping to finish in the 56 min range but was not really sure what a good time would be on this course (nor did anyone else since it was the first time it was used in competition). I had two primary concerns-- going out too hard and going out too slow. I was hoping to get a practice 40k in on Monday but the "bug" nixed that. I finally just convinced myself that I would know how hard to go in the moment, ya, right!
So, 5:00am Sunday and off to Yakima Canyon near Ellensburg. Simply put, it was a sufferfest. Everyone I talked with after the race said something like, "that totally friggin' sucked." I could not have said it better myself, matter of fact, I did say something like that only not so PC. The course was not super hilly, though it did have one significant hill about 1k from the turn-around, it was one of those "suck the life out of your legs" kinds of hills. Even though it was not too hilly, it was seldom if-ever flat. There was what seemed like a constant 1-3% grade that fluctuated regularly. Once you felt like you got a good rhythm going there was a grade change. Oh, and if the hill/false-flat combo left any life in your legs the gusting headwind, changing to crosswind and back to headwind on the way back sucked out whatever life was left. Oh what fun! At least it was the same for us all!!!
I had two significant problem during the race. First, my concern for going out too hard won out and I actually did the opposite, I went too easy. If I had it to do again I would have gone harder. I guess I was thinking I would play it conservative and be sure to have something left in the tank after the turn-around (which was probably the right way to play it) but knowing what I know now I believe would have been better off going out harder. The second problem was, well, my "body-saddle" interface. During the race my legs felt great but at about 28k the position on the TT bike left my "crotchal" region hurting so bad I could nary find a spot that could bear enough weight to get a decent pedal stroke going. Yowza, that hurt like, well, a burning crotch.
Both of these problems point to one thing-- I simply needed more time on my TT bike to prepare for a 40k TT. 25k-- no problem, 40k-- problem. I needed both some experience of going at race pace for 40k to see what I could maintain AND, maybe even more importantly, to get my, ahem, "saddle area" accustomed to 40k worth of time-trial-position friction.
When it was all said and done my time, while it was not what I hoped for, it was really not too bad-- 58:18.3 Actually, my time would have been good to give me a bronze medal in the Cat 3 as well as the Masters A but in the apparently "stacked" Masters B it only netted me a 6th place.
In the race for the BARR competition (the only reason I even made the drive) I earned 32pts and I am just 30pts out of first with the ever important Omnium coming up this weekend.