Sunday, March 3, 2013

Time Trial By Fire


The morning forecast called for 20+ mph winds with 30+ mph gusts. Combine that with the 30-some degree temp and I was pretty close to calling off my trip to the Wawawai Landing time trial race. But what the heck. It's the beginning of the road racing season and I've never done a time trial before.

During the drive on Hwy 195, every flag I saw looked like it was two minutes away from being shredded and the wind turbines were spinning like pin wheels blown upon by hyperactive five-year olds.

At Wawawai landing I was relieved to see the out part of the out-and-back time trial would be into the wind. Getting the hard part out of the way first suited me just fine. Then I could fly home to the finish. The route followed the Snake River in a southeast direction before turning back.

I signed up for men's masters 50+ category. Not that it made any difference since I was going to have my ass handed to me anyway. I just needed to know, once it was all over, who to see so they could hand it to me. My departure time was set for 11:25.

Trainers were set up and riders started warming up. Me, I stayed warm in the van. The symbolism associated with being in a van down by the river was not lost upon me.
A little after 11:00 I got on my bike and pedaled up and down the road for a while to warm up. I rolled up to the start a couple minutes before my time and checked in. Following instructions I put my front wheel on the white line. The official counted me down. With five seconds left a dark cloud covered the sun and the wind suddenly picked up. It was blowing right in my face. I took off as best as I could with the wind letting me know this wasn't going to be easy. I leaned over and braced myself for six miles of fighting the wind.

A quarter mile down the road and it was getting easy. I kept shifting up until I was in the top gear. I spun my pedals for all I was worth to make the most of it. Of course, I made it to the turnaround point in excellent time--just like everybody else since we had the wind with us.

One word describes the ride back. Brutal. This was one of the strongest headwinds I've ever rode crawled through. It was on a par with two other bad ones I remember. Once on my morning commute I had to drop down to the bottom chain ring to get to work. And during a cross-state bike trip with Geoff, we were coming down from Rainy Pass and the wind was blowing up the Skagit Valley so hard we had to pedal to go downhill.

I shifted between to the top chain ring when the wind eased, which wasn't often, but mostly stayed on the middle ring. I was amazed at the guys who started behind me and rolled right on by like the wind wasn't a factor. My fortune changed with one kilometer to go and I was able to kick it into high gear and look good at the finish. Hence the smile on my face.
Photo by Bryan MacDonald
I had intended to do the hill climb race as well, but I had the start time wrong. Since it was later than I thought I wouldn't be home by the time I needed to be so I had to miss it.

5 comments:

John said...

What was your time? Do they have them posted somewhere?

John

Hank Greer said...

They have it posted. I did it in 42 minutes and change. About 28 of that was against the wind.

Anonymous said...

Hank, thanks for coming down and giving the TT a try. Some people love those conditions, and other people find them deplorable (like me). I hope you found a little bit of "fun" out there.

I'm still sorting out the finances, but it's looking like we raised over 1K for the http://www.davisphinneyfoundation.org/

Thanks again,

Ted

Anonymous said...

Hank, thanks for coming down and giving the TT a try. Some people love those conditions, and other people find them deplorable (like me). I hope you found a little bit of "fun" out there.

I'm still sorting out the finances, but it's looking like we raised over 1K for the http://www.davisphinneyfoundation.org/

Thanks again,

Ted

Hank Greer said...

Ted, as rough as it was, I still had a good time. Wish I could've stayed for the hill climb. Awesome job raising money for the foundation.

Hank