Last Sunday was the Hwy 40 Time Trial. Wouldn’t you know it – the first race to be held since I announced my retirement from racing would be a time trial! And not just any time trial – a once in a lifetime chance to ride the smooth, virgin concrete of a newly reconstructed interstate highway. Moreover, it looked like participation would be at a level rarely seen for a time trial, with hundreds of participants and thousands of potential onlookers enjoying the festivities.
I was tempted. People kept asking me – aren’t you gonna do the Hwy 40 Time Trial? I told them, “I’m retired, man!” Inside though, I was tempted – I wanted to do it. I watched the preregistration list grow phenomenally, and I was tempted. But I resisted – I couldn’t really announce my retirement, and then go and do the very first race held after that! Eventually, preregistration filled up, and that pretty much took me off the hook. I knew I could go down there, watch the race and hang out, and not succumb to temptation and sign up on the spot.
It was a gorgeously warm, if quite blustery, day. Being Sunday, and given the location of the race right on my usual BugMan™ Route, I decided to time my ride so I would get there right about when things were starting. I could hang out, see people, take a ride for myself on the new highway, and then continue on for the rest of my ride. I did the clockwise direction this time, which put all the easy and rolling terrain in the first two-thirds of the ride, but then really backloaded the last 20 miles or so with some heavy climbing. Normally I don’t like to backload my long rides like this, but I’ve been getting in so many miles of late and feeling so good that lots of late climbing doesn’t really concern me now.
I had a flat about halfway there but got it fixed pretty quick and got there around 11:30. What a fun scene! Everybody kept telling me, “You’ll come back!” They might be right – seeing the race really stirred the feelings. It’s hard not to be tempted when you’re feeling strong. I chatted with a bunch of people in the parking lot and down in the start area, then took off east alongside the race lanes and did my own little interval session just to see what the pavement was like. It was nice! I turned around on McKnight and came back out west in the eastbound lanes, but it was a lot more crowded so I chilled and eased off the gas. It was pretty cool seeing all the families out there with their kids on bikes. After I did the tour I went back to the start area and chatted some more before taking off for the rest of my ride.
I mentioned it was windy, and of course you know what I mean since EVERYBODY was either racing or out on their bike. I got blown around quite a bit early on, but eventually I got into the shelter of the woods during the climbing part of the ride. I climbed well, despite all the early miles, and finished out the day with 67 miles in ~10 minutes shy of 4 hours. Nice winter miles!