Thursday, June 27, 2019
2019 Para-Cycling Road National Championships
Start Time: 9:22:00
We allowed a little extra time as we headed out this morning. Access to the course was from a different location today due to road closures. Fortunately, we pre-drove the route yesterday as the information provided was missing a few details…(ie - it was wrong) We arrived in the parking area as planned about 7:15 and squeezed the big truck up next to Adam’s camper.
Our first stop after restrooms was to bike pre-check which we passed with no issue. We then returned to the truck. We sat in the truck for a bit and ate breakfast while looking out over the Cinch River which had a low layer of fog over it and ducks and geese paddling in the water. We prepped the bike and ourselves and headed out for our warm-up. We opted to take the bike path as we had the first day we rode to get a nice stretch in and get away from the congestion of cars, trucks, bikes, hand cycles and trikes in the parking area. We had a nice ride, traveling along the river, passing many out for their morning walks and winding through the thick green trees.
We returned back to the truck, dropped our extra items and made one last stop at the restroom before heading to the start. Our bike was checked again and we were ordered for the start. We had two holders in the start gate as the clock ticked down and signaled our start. And we’re off. The course consisted of 3 laps in the shape of a T. We started out to the right - made a 180 degree turn about 0.8 miles out, passed back by the start continued straight to a right turn that served as the trunk of the T, climbed a short punchy hill (6 pedal strokes out of the saddle) followed almost immediately by a tight 180 degree turn. The turn had a lip on the pavement to the right so no play on that side and dirt and gravel on the left. We did get into the dirt and gravel a bit but were able to turn pretty well. The return down the trunk is fast and goes into a sweeping right and almost immediately into a decent climb. The 180 degree turn around point was a bit closer than we had practiced and right off of a very high speed downhill. We learned after the first time that we needed different gearing coming into it for the next two. Coming off the turn the course goes right back up the hill we had descended and by down the other side - we passed the trunk of the T at a pretty good clip, continued onto the start/finish where our split showed 19:06 (there was a digital board above the course showing our race number and time) and started lap two.
Our goals for laps two and three were to increase intensity with each lap. My personal goal was to fix the turns at each point to make them smoother than the last. The first turn was definitely better the second time through. We had a police moto that was right ahead of us from the start of the race. He slowed as we climbed and found he had to speed up when we descended as we would catch back up to him quickly where it caused enough question in my head whether he would move on time or not. The turn onto the tree trunk the second time went a bit better than the first time but I still had to coast. I heard Wendy tell me in my head that we needed to pedal through that so set the goal for lap three. Our 180 went better the second time and we made a quick descent back down the trunk and back out to the climb. This time after catching up to the moto our 180 went much better with gears in the right place. Split did not read on the screen as we came through. I shouted out what my computer said and knew we had gained a little time.
Lap three brought our best turns of the race! I was able to pedal through the turn onto the trunk and the effort felt solid all the way through the finish. Our time 58:09. Our effort placed us in third. We made our way off the course, through the crowded parking lot and were able to spin around the circle at the end of the parking lot for a few minutes to settle our legs down.
We then went to awards and visited with friends.
Home after the awards, we unloaded the truck and settled in. My shower and food was delayed by laying on the couch which felt pretty good at that moment. A recovery afternoon, dinner out with a group of friends who are here and shift gears tomorrow to focus on the road race.
With my athletes, any time they race I request a race report to share 5 celebrations, 5 challenges and 5 goals/learning opportunities to carry forward to the next race and beyond. Here are my 5s.
1.180s improved each time through
2. Pedaled through the turn at the trunk on Lap 3
3. Finished under an hour
4. Hill climbs were strong
5. Able to push hard to finish for last 1K
1. Turns - keeping momentum through constant accelerations and decelerations
2. Pedaling through turns (tuck the fear)
3. Electronic shifting - muscle memory caused a few misshifts when focus switched to race mode
4. Speed suit contact point
5. Helmet sticker
5 Goals/Learning Opportunities:
1. Keep practicing turns with accelerations off the back
2. Tandem handling to pedal through tighter turns
3. Aero helmet with sticker securely fastened (I had a road helmet and a very flappy sticker)
4. Warm up may be best on a trainer - lots of congestion due to so much equipment
5. Consider equipment changes that could provide fine tune changes (TT Bars, helmet)