Those are the words I last heard spoken to me prior to my launch into my first ever bike time trial (TT). Getting to the starting line today though was touch and go.
Yesterday the Wingman and I arrived in New Hampshire and checked into the hotel. We have a nice suite in a ski lodge right near the race start. It has a full kitchen so we went out to do some light grocery shopping. We picked up some cold cuts and other stuff for dinner. When we got back to the hotel, we made some sandwiches, watched TV and went to sleep. When I woke up this morning, I just didn't feel right. I felt really dizzy and every time I moved my head the room would spin. I took it easy and had some breakfast and took a nap to try to sleep it off. I thought perhaps my head was congested so I took an allergy pill hoping it would help. When I woke up later, I did feel better but still not close to 100%. At this point I was doubting my ability to race tonight. I made another sandwich for lunch and still felt lousy. Hmm, maybe a shower would help clear my head.
Got into the shower and I knew it would not be pretty. My stomach quickly alerted me that I needed to vacate the shower immediately. Before I knew it, I was sick as a dog. This may be a little TMI, but the sandwich came back up. I am thinking there was something to the cold cuts that did not agree with me. Wingman had the ham while I had the turkey. Once my stomach was empty, I was actually feeling a little better. I still felt weakened, but at least the dizziness was gone. Phew. Now I had about 5 hours to get some calories in me to sooth my stomach and get ready for the time trial.
Wingman and I went down to the packet pickup and got all of our goodies. We scoped out the race sight and then came back to the room to get the race numbers on the bikes. Before I knew it, it was time to make our way down to the race sight. There were a lot of racers already there. I could see that the race director abandoned the TT ramp. Racers had to go off every 20 seconds so it would have been impossible to load everyone one by one onto the ramp in a timely fashion. Instead, you clipped into one pedal and two guys on either side of you grabbed the bike so you could clip the other foot in. Then they passed you off to two more guys to hold you up prior to the start. Once guy asked "Are you ready to rock?" and I answered "Please don't drop me." He laughed and then said "You'll get a 3 countdown" and then I vaguely remember hearing 3..2..1..and the horn went off. I got a huge push from the two guys like a giant catapult and was flying towards the main road. Spectators lined the road and the cowbells were going like crazy. It was a huge boost for the start. I realized in my worry over the start that I forgot to start my computer. I was about 2/10th of a mile in when I started it.
The first half of the course starts out flat and then goes into a big downhill. I quickly worked up into a big gear to be ready for the downhill. I used the free speed here knowing I would be slower coming up. I felt like I was flying but never looked down at the computer to check my speed. The other issue I had was the sunglasses I was wearing were too dark for an overcast, twilight race. I have a lighter tint pair, but I left them home. I had no trouble making it to the bottom of the hill. I had to slow down quite a bit as it is a tight u-turn before you begin the climb back up.
Once I began the uphill I had to decide if I was going to pass the woman in front of me. I waited it out a little to get through the first climb. On the flat, I could see she wasn't going any faster so on the next climb, I came out of the saddle to accelerate past her and continue my climb. I was handling the hills well for a flat lander, but the last climb was a tough one. I opted to stay in my big ring (tomorrow I will definitely be in the small ring) and I was working hard. The one thing that snapped me out of my tunnel vision was hearing some kid shout out "If you believe in yourself, you can do it!!" Which is a reference to this video:
It made me smile a bit and took some of the hurt out of that climb. By now I was on flat ground again and quickly shifted gears back to I could finish out the ride fast. I hammered it down the last big straightaway and made the first of two left turns to get to the finish. I passed the spectators again with the cowbells going but I had to slow down for the final turn. The finishing area is really short so I opted out of a crazy sprint so I wouldn't have to brake too hard once I crossed the line.
After the end, I took an easy spin to flush out the legs and then went back to see the Wingman finish. There were about 40 riders between us so I saw him on the course as he was heading down the first hill and I was near the end of the last uphill. He was looking strong out there!! After he finished I told him to keep on riding to cool down.
We came back to the room to change and went back to see the results. We didn't do too badly in our first TT effort. I would love to come back next year to see what I can do if I can get any better at hill climbing.
Tonight will be an easy night as we both have a tri in the morning and I have another on Sunday. No rest for the weary as I feel it will be a looong weekend.........