A couple of weeks ago, I reanalyzed my season goals. Originally, I had planned on trying to win Cat 4 in the MATTS series. However, I started to have second thoughts about doing the entire season-long series. The winners aren't the fastest, they are the ones able to consistently go fast every race. That's not very easy and it takes a ton of dedication and focus. Unfortunately, some of my other goals and interests were getting in the way.
Enter the Homemade Pizza Co Chicago TT series. The new kid on the block has only six races, is held on brand new courses, and culminates with one of my season goals--the Illinois State TT championship. The first race of the series conflicted with the MATTS Cherry Valley 30K, so I decided to go for it and register for the new series. After one event, all I can say is wow.
The first race of the series was the Sugar Grove 30K. It was hosted by QuavR Cycling and, coincidentally, it was the first race they've ever organized as a club. They should pat themselves on the back, because they did a great job.
The course was a predominately loop course on low-traffic roads around the Aurora Airport. A few rolling hills, but relatively flat. With no wind protection, we got very lucky with the weather. Most riders noticed the scant 6 MPH wind and were happy it wasn't stronger. Temps were in the 60s and made the 30K distance much more enjoyable. Corners were well marked and most had marshals (who probably were happy to be outside on such a nice Sunday).
A couple of things I really liked about this race were having a start house with a ramp and someone to hold you at the start. These are nice touches that are often a rarity at TTs. This race also featured the first in a season long sprinters competition. Huh? That's right the last 300 m was designated for the green jersey sprinters competition. The fastest riders over that distance earned points to the season-long competition. Who would have ever thought about putting this in a TT? I ended up covering the 300 m at 29.21 MPH, while the fastest rider hit 33.6 MPH!
So, what about my overall race? I learned a crucial lesson. Don't get a massage 2 days before your race. Ouch, my heart was go, but my legs weren't. I kept looking at power meter wondering what was going on. I paced myself well the entire race, but my average power was not where I wanted it. I still managed a respectable 25.4 MPH over the 30K, which was good enough for second in the Masters 30-39 group. Ironically, I got beat by 50+ year old Tom Doughty who raced twice--once in his age group, and second with us younger cats. Makes me happy to know that cyclists don't slow down as much with age like runners!
The race did get me excited about getting faster--duh! I realized that I need to bes smarter about my taper and training the week before a race. I still plan on doing MATTS races, but I'm going to prioritize the Chicago TT series. I was very impressed for a first time race and look forward to the rest of the series.
BTW, if you're interested in doing a time trial, I highly recommend the Homemade Pizza Co TT series. The series is sanctioned by USA Cycling and we are a USA Cycling club. It seems like each of the events are going to be top notch and you should have a wonderful experience.