Ok, ok, I know that a Time Trial is not a real bike race, but (USAC) United States Cycling is the governing body that puts together this race and you don’t have to swim or run before or after the race, so in my book that is a bike race. This also means that I can push the bike as hard as I can as I don’t have to conserve any energy, a new concept to me also.
On Tuesday morning I received a text from a friend of mine, Elena, who told me about this Time Trial. The race is a 12 mile TT starting from Lyons, CO and ending at the entrance of North Boulder. I ride the course a lot, as it is the same as Boulder IM and Boulder Half Ironman, but most times I'm going the opposite direction, so I thought this race was going to be interesting.
Having gone through that, I was so excited to really be able to push it in a race setting. I haven’t raced since Panama, which now seems like forever ago to me. I signed up for the race and actually got pre-race gitters. The registration process was interesting, if you don’t belong to USAC or have never participated in a USAC event, you have to sign up, pay for a 1 day license, pay for the entry fee and go through a lot online forms. The website also said that there was no “same day” sign up, so I had to do it that afternoon or I was not going to do it at all. I was so excited and wanting to push myself, so I signed up.
The next day, Wednesday, I had a plan, to put my bike together (carbon tires, get rid of all the extra bottle holders, make my bike “lighter”), drive to Elena’s house and from there we’d ride and warm up for the race. Work took longer than I had expected and then I had some problems with my bike and had to stop by the bike shop on my way to the race. This should have been my first sign that it was probably not my day to race. This delay made me have to drive to the middle of the course, where I parked. I got out of the car and I got a text from a friend of mine, wishing me good luck and that he hoped that I wouldn’t get soaked. I looked up and the clouds were black, not grey but black. In Colorado that can happen but then they can get blown away and you get nothing, not even a drop. That’s what I was hoping for. But it was not to be.
I got my bike, put my gear on (Aero helmet, racing gloves, sunglasses, shoes, etc.) and started riding to the starting line. After 1 mile it started to rain a little, no big deal, I have gotten wet before while riding. But suddenly it turned to hail, about a dime in size. I was also going about 30mph, that part of the course goes downhill. At first it didn’t hurt, I could hear the ice break on my helmet and on my wheels. I tried to slow down, but it was hard as the breaks were soaking wet and a loud screech would come out every time I tried to slow down. On top of that the wind had really picked up, the slower I went the more I felt it was going to tip me over. This lasted for 5 minutes. I could see and feel the ice exploiting against my arms and legs. About 2 miles out, I considered stopping it was hurting so much, but a lot of the pros had already passed going the other way, so convinced myself to keep going not to miss my start time. This should have been sign number 2. Finally I got to the registration truck, where they were handing out your numbers. My skin burned, but I wasn’t sure if it was because of the cold or because of the hail. Temperature had dropped 15 degrees in a matter of 15 minutes. It didn’t matter; I was there, I had a number and had gotten there on time to start.
Once there, I met my friend Elena and another friend Aubrey, who recently became pro! We took this picture together, looking "aero".