Monday, March 4, 2013

Race Report: Frostbite TT by Kirk Groves (@LSVLKirk)

Saturday I raced the Frostbite TT. For those not familiar with the race, it's the kickoff to the Colorado racing season. The race is located on the I-25 frontage road north of Fort Collins. The course is an out and back, riding to the south first and then back north. It's relatively flat but has some mild rollers. The out portion is slightly downhill so you have a mild climb back home. Here is the segment on Strava:

My start time was 11:55:30 so I didn't have to get up and around too early. I arrived with plenty of time to get my number and do a full warm-up. I'd borrowed a can of spray adhesive from Jon Maule so I was able glue my number down for the super aerodynamic approach.

Brad Sims has had me put in a decent amount of work on the TT bike this year in preparation for this race. My current position isn't super aero (low and narrow) yet but I'm starting to be able to put out decent power while in the aero bars. My plan is to increase my flexibility and get more aero as the season goes on. My ride for the day was my Blue Triad SP with my Williams carbon clinchers. I wore my Giro Advantage TT helmet. It was warm enough that I didn't wear gloves but I did wear my full shoe covers for the aero edge.

I completed my warm-up and spun around until about 3 minutes prior to my start time. The weather forecast was for mild conditions and winds of 6 mph. Jon informed me the rule of thumb was to add 20 mph to the forecast -- he was right. The wind was primarily out of the West so it was a cross-wind with some gusts. I was wearing ear plugs to keep the noise down.

In past TT's I've struggled with pacing. I installed my Quarq power meter crank on my TT bike so I could pace with power and I had my HR monitor as well for a second data point. This was the first time I didn't go out like a house on fire. I caught my minute man quickly and was caught my 30 second man before the turn-around. Being slightly downhill the pace was high on the way out, 27.7 mph. I hit the turn-around and kicked back up to speed. Speeds were slower on the way back (21.8 mph) but again I paced with power & HR. The cross-winds were stronger on the way back and there were some interesting moments. About half-way back I caught a third rider. I approached the line and had a little kick for the last 2 minutes. About 10 meters from the finish line I caught my fourth rider. So, my final 'score' was 4 passed riders and I wasn't passed. It helped my motivation to have riders as carrots and not passed.

I stuck around for an hour afterwards for results to be posted. I placed 10th out of 37th in my category, the 35+ 4s. I'm pleased with the result as TT'ing is a relative weakness of mine. It is a result I can build on and a successful start to the 2013 season.

The next race I've circled on the calendar is the CSU Circuit Race on 3/16. For my category it will be a 39 mile race (5 laps) and roughly 20% of the course is hard packed dirt.

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