Friday, June 29 is the date of the 2012 TT championships in Bulgaria. This has been my number 1 goal this season so I after almost 7 months of training it is good to recap the past period.
Fitness and Equipment
I completed a solid 8 weeks of base training starting January and I have done a number of Time Trials going through the 5 week Build phase, leaving me with a 4-5 weeks to work on any weaknesess/bike fit/etc and taper. My race power numbers were all around my FTP – 350-355W. I did experiment with pacing and did blow up in one race, so I am aware of my limits. I made some significant position changes for my last race which I think cost me about 10-15W. It is a lower and narrower position so it is a good trade-off. Sustaining 330-335W for the 40K is a very reasonable goal.
I also bought a second hand SRM crank power meter so I can use a rear disc rather than my 32 spoke Powertap wheel. I got a HED3 and a HED Stinger Disc used so I have one of the fastest wheel combinations available. I changed the original lighter tyres with ones with some puncture protection as an extra safety measure. I have a narrow range 11-23 cassette installed and ready to go.
Furthermore after months of waiting and promises I finally have a real TT bike: a Cervelo P3, rather than an converted road bike with clip-on aerobars. One small addition, the frame developed some cracks around the seatpost opening. The shop called Cervelo and this seems to be a problem they have seen before, also online forums have some P3 owners with similar issues. Most likely it is just cosmetic paint cracking, however, I will have to keep an eye on it, especially be aware of the seatpost slipping down. This is a literally ‘make it or break it’ situation. I did get the green light from Cervelo to go and ride, what would happen in terms of warranty remains to be seen. Nonetheless, the bike is FAST, there is no doubt about it and quite comfortable. The small cracks aside, it lives up to the hype surrounding the Cervelo P series of bicycles. Ideally I would have liked to have longer time to get used to it, however, 10 or so days should be enough to let my body adapt.
I also found aerodynamic shoe covers and although my team skinsuit did not arrive in time (sponsor issues), I have a an unmarked black one which I will be using for the race.
Overall unlike my previous races I have world class equipment so I will not be at a disadvantage before even getting off the starting line.
I am completely unfamiliar with the course. From previous years it was an out and back race on the highway outside the town of Sliven. I do not think it will be very technical or involving significant elevation changes. If marked properly I should be able to focus entirely on pedaling hard, rather than missing a turn. Another more significant aspect is the weather. I am expecting temperatures in the 30-35C degrees range. Here in The Netherlands, jokes aside, the mercury rarely creeps above 20C, on a good day. Wind conditions should not be worse that what I have been getting here. I am going couple of days in advance to recon the roads and to get used to the heat. Hydration will be key. Also it is a 2300km drive from The Netherlands to Bulgaria. I am planning of taking my time and doing it in 3 days, stopping by my parents house in Sofia for a day, before heading for Sliven. I will do some short (30-45min) workouts in hotel rooms/parking lots on the Tacx to keep my body into ‘race’ awareness.
This would be my first experience of a high-caliber race, I hope not the last one. There probably will be some Continental PROs mixed with fast club racers. Any unforeseen circumstances aside I am excited and looking forward to setting some personal best numbers. I will post an event recap after the race.