This Sunday (May 6, 2012) was the first official time trial of my racing calendar – 23km (2 laps on an 11.5km loop). When I was planning my season this was supposed to be my first C priority race, meaning I would still be in training (fatigued), however, it would be an opportunity to measure my improvement in power and test my TT equipment. So far so good. I am in week 3/5 in Build, I did 5x5min intervals at ~370W average the Thursday before the race, Friday I spent off the bike and Saturday I rolled for 1h at a relaxed pace with a couple of 1min race intensity intervals.
The road was pan flat as is typical here and what is even more common at this time of year is the strong wind. Around 3/4 of the square loop were done against the wind (20-30km/h), definitely not fast weather and or bragging numbers.
I started quite conservative trying to hold 340W average for the first lap. It felt reasonably ok, however, I was not trying to go over the limit. The second lap I went 350W right from the line and my legs were burning. The last straight with the tailwind I gave it all. As far as negative splitting my second lap was 1minute!!! faster than my first. Looking into details I could have pushed a little harder at the beginning or about 30s faster. My data is summarized in the graph below.
I finished 6th in my category (Men 20+ and 12th from all the fields.) I got passed by 3 people with full TT gear. One of them went on to win the Masters 40+ and recorded 2nd time overall.
The full results are available here.
My equipment is basically my old road bike with clip-on aerobars and a forward facing seatpost, a carbon three spoke front wheel, and a Bell Javelin helmet. My position is far from ideal; my armrests are actually much higher than my handlebars in road configuration and there is no way to get them lower. This defies the biomechanics behind a TT position as Dan Empfiled explains in his excellent article on Tri Bike Fit. I know with my flexibility I can go at least 6-7cm lower without even starting to get uncomfortable. With better equipment and position I could have saved around 45seconds, putting me just outside the podium.
Now onto the lemons part… I ordered a real time trial bike in January with the clear intentions to have it at the end of April, ride/adjust/get used to it and be ready to go May 6. The long anticipated Cervelo P5 will not materialize for us mortals this calendar year so my awesome local bike shop really did his best and found me a Cervelo P3 bike from Germany. Being a 2 meters tall leggy individual really limits my options so I can only fit the largest sizes (read never in stock, special order only). Due to some logistics reasons the bike did not make it the week before the race as expected so I was back to my training TT configuration. In addition due to some sponsor conflicts the team skinsuit I ordered months ago will also not be here this month so I raced with a regular jersey that leaves something to be desired when it comes to aerodynamics.
My next race is a similar TT coming Saturday. I would be training the whole week, possibly taking one day off to recover.