Thankfully the weather was much cooler for this year’s Warnerville TT and we were not beset by a plague of locusts. Warnerville is a rolling course with some really bad pavement in places and a couple of tricky turns. It starts with a monster downhill and finishes up that same hill so the last ½ a mile is a pain fest. It doesn’t really suit me for a course and I find the bumpy railway and bridge crossings to be a real distraction. It is also a course that you have to pay good attention to where your wheels are heading as there are some nasty pot holes. Fortunately the Velo promo guys do a good job of marking the hazards with cones but there are still some sections that cause me to cringe when I think of those expensive wheels I am riding on. They do not however do a good job of measuring the course as the “20” mile TT is actually 22.4miles.
My day didn’t get of to a good start as I was a little late getting ready for my warmup and then when I hopped on the turbo, the magnetic resistance unit decided to fall apart. This left me with a 1 mile section of road on which to get warmed up which wasn’t ideal. I quickly realized that there was going to be a strong gusting tailwind out and a nice tailwind home and also that my HED 3 front wheel felt like a sail in the gusts. I wasn’t too concerned about the warmup as with the tailwind down hill start the race itself would be all the warmup I needed.
I am beginning to feel that the small gains given by the HED 3 front are more than offset by it’s instability in gusting crosswinds. I know there are plenty of people out there who have no issues riding these wheels but my own experience is that once you get them above 40MPH or there are gusting winds the handling becomes unpredictable. The first mile of the TT was downhill with strong winds and I was forced off the aero bars just to stay in control. I only hit 45MPH on this section but I had friends who touched 50MPH. I probably lost a fair bit of time on the faster bits but I was saving something for the much harder return leg. It took me a long time to close on my minute rider and I seemed to be cloing rapidly on him on the uphill bits and falling back on the downhills. I was pretty close to catching him at the turn but he pulled away until we hit the bigger rollers. I nearly crashed on the same corner as last year where it hit it too fast and then got pushed by a strong side gust and lost a bit of time recovering.
The return leg was nowhere near as fast as I was expecting and in some sections the wind was actually pretty hard. I finally caught my minute rider on an uphill with about 8 miles to go and did my best to consolidate the pass. The final 2 miles were particularly brutal and I knew I had no option but to push really hard into the wind rather than risk saving something for the last climb. I totally misjudged how long that final climb was and wished I had kept a little in reserve. The final uphill 200m into a strong headwind seemed like an eternity.
I finished with a time of 53m34s which got me 2nd Place behind Jeff Upton with a margin of 12 seconds. This represented an improvement of nearly 3 minutes over my time last year which is a nice difference. Warnerville is a really hard TT course and I think it will be a few years before I finally master it . Fastest time of the day was a barely believable 46m22s by Torey Philip.
|Men – Cat 4 – Master – 45-99|
|Place||Points||Name||City, State||Time||USAC #||Bib||Team|
|1||465.43||Jeff UPTON||Grass Valley, CA||0:53:22.7||315494||900||Victory Velo|
|2||506.95||Mark KING||Livermore, CA||0:53:34.4||136967||858||Christian Cycling- H|
|3||548.48||Daniel CASTELLANI||Turlock, CA||0:55:05.8||306441||857||Fun Sport Bikes Cycl|