This was my first race back since my stroke in 2015 and I was in an incredibly nervous state before hand. It felt more like I was riding the national championships rather than a “fun” local time trial. I originally signed up for the Merckx event too but I felt so unwell after the first race that I abandoned this plan. This was also my first race back for Christian Cycling which felt good.
I had planed on riding my fixed gear Wabi for this race but at the last minute decided to ride my road bike instead. I put some Hed 3 wheels on the bike and opted to use my Kask aero helmet to try to save a few seconds. The bike actually felt really quick with this setup even though it wasn’t. I went for Jersey and shorts as I didn’t buy an IC3 skinsuit but the fit of the Castelli team kit is pretty good.
The race started in quite cool conditions with just a sprinkling of rain. This caused my Kask visor to steam up and on the way back I had a very foggy view. I don’t think there was very much wind as the course felt like there was a headwind both ways. I used every ounce of my TT experience to pace the event but I felt pretty poor on the up hills and this really hurt my average speed. My personal record (Trek TTX time trial bike) on the outbound leg is 15m47s on a TT bike and 16m32s on my fixed Merckx bike. Today I did 18m51s which is about 3.5MPH slower.
I was hoping for a super fast tailwind return leg and I tried to push the biggest gear I could turn over but it really didn’t feel that fast. I felt ok on the return leg and was able to push what felt to be a normal time trial speed but the figures show I was way off my pre stroke pace. My best time for the return leg is 11m01s (29.5MPH) on my TT bike and 12m02s (27 MPH) on the fixed bike. Considering my fixed bike (Merckx) is 48×15, 27MPH is a pretty impressive average speed and represents well over 100RPM. Today my time was 12m40s (25.6MPH) which is way off the mark.
My finishing time was 31m46s which made me last place (winners time was 26m04) and I was very disappointed with the time. In the past when racing on my TT bike I used to be in the 26 minutes and my personal best is 26m49s. I am not surprised that I was much slower than the TT bike but what really hit home was how much slower I was than my fixed gear Merckx best. 28m41s was my best time on the 48×15 fixed. I dread to think what my time would have been without the aero wheel and Kask helmet.
No matter how you tell yourself that you know you are not going to do a good time it still hurts to come last in anything. I know my ftp is over 100W down on what it used to be but I hate losing that badly. To make matters worse I felt terrible afterwards and still don’t feel great typing this up many hours later.
My wife Sandra has a better day and she got two podiums.
Every day above ground is a bonus!