Saturday, April 29, 2006

My first TT: the 20km leg of a triathlon relay

Well, I completed my first 20km bike time trial yesterday morning. Specifically, I was the bike leg of a triathlon relay with my neighbors. 300 meter pool swim, 20km bike, 5k run. Fabulous weather. It was pretty fun and it definitely gave me motivation to work on improving my general time trial cycling skills. According to my Garmin, my time was about 34:25 including a bit of running with the bike (you had to mount/dismount about 20 yards away from the transition mat area so I had to run in my cycling shoes while holding the bike, then mount/dismount, etc).

It was a fairly easy course--not flat but with only moderate rolling hills and only one notable minor climb--some wind to deal with but nothing extreme. I would have really liked to have had some way to warm up prior to starting the ride but (as is the case with triathlons) I had to put my bike in the transition area about 90 minutes before I ended up riding, but other than an initial "oh yeah, this is gonna hurt" I don't think it was too detrimental. I think I did a good job of staying relatively aero in the drops (I have a regular road bike with no aero bars and did not find out about this event in time to train with bars or buy an aero helmet) and I think I did a great job of keeping a constant effort. My heart rate stayed pegged within +- 5 beats per minute, right where I wanted it to be the entire time (my average heart rate was 176 for the ride, my max is probably around 185). Obviously since this was a short TT I felt like I could stay on that edge for 30 minutes without risk of bonking. Anyway, I think with more cycling training, some aero bars, more interval training, and some practice I could probably shave a couple of minutes off that time if the conditions are the same next year. Events like these are great motivators to keep getting better.

According to official results for the Relay groups, our team was the winning relay team (out of 5) and it looks as though my time was around 20th fastest out of 500 participants. The best riders did the course in 31:30 (with a total finish time of about 55 minutes), 11th place was one minute faster than my time. The best female time was 35:30. Admittedly, comparing times isn't totally fair because I didn't have three miles to run when I finished--but riding (only) 34 minutes didn't wipe me out. I could certainly have run 3 miles when I got done--albeit maybe not super fast. Looks like I'm going to have to take swim lessons and work on my run speed so I can do the whole thing next year.


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