I have spent a considerable amount of effort getting a comfortable position on my TT bike after my nightmare experience at the National champs two weeks ago. Seat of the pants feel is that I am not as fast but I am a 100% more comfortable. I have done a couple of hour long efforts in the weeks leading up to Sattley and not experienced any of the issues (including saddle sores) that hurt my efforts at Loyalton.
My goals for the race were to beat 57 minutes (to achieve a life time personal best at the age of 49) and to finish in a state where I could still walk. My plan was to go for a negative split where I didn’t push quite so hard on the outbound leg and then have a faster leg home. I had noticed in reviewing my previous 40K attempts that i always fade on the return leg and i am sure this hurts my time more.
The weather was just about perfect at Sattley with temperatures around 60 degrees and fairly light winds. I wouldn’t need a bottle today but I took one just in case. I set off at my target outbound power plan but was a bit disappointed with my speed. It felt like a headwind out so I had my fingers crossed that there would be a tailwind home. The funny thing about the Sattley course is that although it looks flat, there are drags that really sap your speed and they can be quite frustrating. At about 5 miles the road surface degrades a bit and there are expansion joints every 15 feet which are incredibly annoying. I hit a section of these expansion joints on the way back that completely destroyed my pace for a while.
I hit the turn at at exactly 57 minute pace and was hoping for a storming tailwind home (averaged 289W). Unfortunately it felt like a headwind on the way back too so it was not going to be easy on the slightly shorter return leg. Even though I had throttled back slightly on the way out I still suffered badly on the way back and struggled home at around 20W less than the outward leg. I am a little puzzled how I can put out 330W for an hour on a climb but less than 280W for an hour in a flat time trial. I do think that altitude has an impact on my breathing which kills my FTP and today my average pulse was around 10bpm down on my usual 40K efforts.
In the end I managed a new all time personal best of 56m45s but was deeply disappointed at the finish feeling that I had not done a good ride. I felt I should have rode a much stronger second leg and could not figure out why my power faded so badly.
Result : 6th Place 56:45 (New pr)
Winner : Dan Bryant 50:13
Looking at the above picture I thought my saddle looked a bit low and when I just checked it had dropped by 1/2″ during the event. Those expansion joints must have caused the saddle to slip down which is a problem i seem to be having a lot this year with the Trek. I doubt this was the reason for the power drop on the way back but it cant have helped.