Yeah, after all these years (I say that like I’m an old timer) we finally have a weekly time trial series in the area. I’ve been wishing for something like this since I got into cycling and found a natural love for all things TT. Other places have ’em – Indiana, Wisconsin, SoCal. Big ones too, with a hundred people showing up each week to preen and suffer. I think people around here have just gotten so used to not having to time trial that they don’t see it’s value – as a training tool, as a trackable measure of fitness, as a way to become a complete bike racer. A weekly TT series is not just good for people who like to time trial, it’s good for people who go for race weekend overalls – especially when one of the races is a TT. Speaking of which, we’ve got two of ’em coming up – Tour of Herman, and Tour of St. Louis, as well as Velo In The Valley later in May. Last night was the inaugaral race, and a solid 35 people showed up. Some were the usual suspects – Justin in his now customary #1 slot, Dr. Mark – the start list looked like a Who’s Who of past State TT medalists. But there were lots of new folks, too – it was nice to see all the 4s and 5s out there not afraid to step up to the line. It’s only a 5-week series, but 15k on flat, straight, almost zero-traffic roads is a perfect distance – hopefully the series will succeed and become a fixture in the St. Louis cycling scene.
For all the gushing I’m doing, you’d think I’d won the damn thing. Far from it! Now, I’m not one to make excuses – especially at a time trial – it is, afterall, the “race of truth.” But I just haven’t had enough time yet in the saddle this season, especially the saddle on that bike. The aerobic fitness is there from all the half-marathon training, but the muscle strength isn’t anywhere near what it needs to be. A bigger problem was the brutal cross-headwind on the way out – combined with my lack of time in the aerobars I was too worried about crashing and ended up going the whole way out with my left hand out on the wing. The winds even caused me to not run my disc and deep rim wheels for fear of crashing, opting instead to use my less aero but only 16-spoke Dura Ace wheelset. It took me almost 13 minutes to reach the turnaround, so it didn’t really matter that I felt a lot better on the way back with the cross-tailwind – I’d already lost too much time. My time of 23:17 put me outside the top 10 in the overall standings – unfamiliar ground for me. Clearly I have a lot of work to do.
Hey all you Marys, come on out and step up – here’s your chance to beat the BugMan in a time trial! And don’t forget to thank Joe & PJ Walsh for bringing the TT back to St. Louis.