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2015 Texas State Time Trial (Individual) - Cycle

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Hempstead, Texas
United States
82F / 28C
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = DNF/
Age Group = Cat 4 Female
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Over the winter, I decided to do a run focus and rode very little September through January; upon returning to biking, it was not coming back quickly at all. So I decided after Galveston that this would be treated as an "A" race and the main focus would be to get my bike power back to where it used to be. It would also be an opportunity to really put myself in the pain cave and get a true FTP test, instead of estimating it with 20' and 5' tests.

My power meter has been acting up recently -- whenever it gets wet (i.e. if I ride in the rain....which it has been a very rainy spring for us), the power numbers read all over the place for about five days before it "magically" fixes itself. Anyways, last weekend's race was in the rain, and of course, the week leading up to the TT, my power numbers were all over the place (basically meaningless). Given that I didn't meet goal #1 (get my power back) and the PM was all wonky, which meant I wouldn't be able to fulfill goal #2 (use the race to perform a true FTP test), I had kind of written off this race altogether. I wasn't going to race without my PM....but then it started reading correctly again on Friday (the day before the race), so I figured I should suck it up and race. That said, I don't think my heart was truly in it, which is likely part of the reason it did not go well.

Race morning: alarm went off at 4:30, ate a bagel with peanut butter, got the car all packed up, and was on the road by 5:30, and to the race site around 7. Picked up my packet and promptly realized I had a TON of time before my 9:42 start time!

Event warmup:

Did a 40' trainer warm-up: 10' easy spin, 4x3' intervals getting progressively harder (70%, 79%, 88%, 95%), 3' easy, 4x1' @ 100% on 1' recovery, easy spin till it was time to swap to my race wheel (Flo 60 with disk cover) and head over to the start line

  • 00m
  • 40 kms
  • 0.00 km/hr

tl;dr version: started out well for the first 15 minutes, started to fall apart, hit turn around and renewed my desire to push hard and try do well, completely fell apart, got a flat and was unable to finish

Last year, I did this race on 181W and was extremely happy with the effort. I felt like my training for this race had gone reasonably well, but I still didn't feel like my power was coming back as much as it should, so I knew shooting for 180+ W was not realistic.

Starting the race, they had someone hold you up and a ramp to ride down to gain momentum. I quickly settled into the power that I thought I could hold. I was going to aim for about 170W and then if that turned out to be conservative, bump it up on the return leg. The first 15 minutes were going well and I was averaging just over 170W....and then something in my brain turned on and I realized that I was only about a quarter of the way done and that it was going to hurt REALLY badly if I kept at this power output.

Next thing I know, my power is down in the 160's....and moments later it's in the 150's....and shortly after that, I'm coasting and/or doing recovery-type power output. I try to have a pep talk with myself, but I can't seem to get myself to WANT to hurt. Then a girl that I passed earlier passes me back....that helps briefly and I start putting down some decent-ish power (somewhere in the 150's, which is not great, but it's better than being in the 120's). I pass her back, hit the turn around, hit the lap button, and have resolved to get my shit together and actually ride like I care again.

For about a minute after the turn around, I'm putting down good power again, but it's short lived and starts dropping down into the 160's and 150's. I'm feeling really bummed out and frustrated at this point and start thinking that maybe I'll just limp it in.

All this time, I'm noticing that my bike is making a weird noise and feeling sorta sluggish. I start wondering if maybe the gods are being kind and I have a flat -- yay, an excuse as to why I suck and am not moving quickly at all! But, of course, a flat doesn't change my ability to put down decent power....just for that power to translate into being fast, so I know it's not a valid excuse. Anyways, I did eventually pull off to the shoulder and reached back to feel my rear tire -- it is, indeed, very soft. It wasn't a catastrophic flat or anything, but I still had nine miles left to go and I knew it wasn't going to make it all the way in without just riding on the rim....and given that it was a TT, I opted to remove my flat kit, so I now have three choices: wait for someone to pick me up, ride it in and risk damaging the rim, or walking nine miles to the start/finish line.

So I stand on the side of the road hoping that a SAG vehicle or any form of race support is going to come by. Over 20 minutes pass, and I'm still standing there. A number of riders have gone by and asked if I was okay, and one even said he'd tell the next person he saw that I had a flat, but no one else had a flat kit either. Finally I get fed up enough and figured I'd try to ride it in some (because god knows I'm not walking nine miles in bike shoes!). Not more than a couple minutes after getting back on my bike and hoping for the best, an official on a motorcycle comes by and I flag him down. He tries to call someone to pick me up, but can't get a hold of anyone. He said he was going to ride and find someone, and I told him I'd walk my bike over to the shady area ahead....a minute later, a SAG vehicle finally shows up and we get my bike on the rack and head back in.

The driver joked with me and said he wasn't sure what to do about crossing the finish line because he didn't want me to inadvertently win my category. I told him not to worry -- I'd been out there for over 30 minutes....if I crossed the finish line, it would look like I'd ridden at like a 12 mph pace -- very impressive ;)

What would you do differently?:

Honestly, I probably should not have raced at all, given that I had basically written it off with the PM issues I was having
Post race
Warm down:

Standing on the side of the road, waiting to get picked up?? ;)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Poor decision to do a run focus and not ride over the winter (my running did NOT get better and my riding definitely got worse!), probably need someone more experienced than me to build a training plan to get my power back to where it used to be (working on this part), nearly writing the race off altogether....but the biggest limiters probably are:

Confidence that I could actually hold my estimated FTP for an hour, and

Mental strength to allow myself to hurt that badly for an hour

Last updated: 2015-06-22 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 40 kms | 0.00 km/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2015-06-24 10:30 AM

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Houston, Texas
Subject: 2015 Texas State Time Trial (Individual)

2015-06-24 12:25 PM
in reply to: #5124501

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2000500100100100100 home in The ATL
Subject: RE: 2015 Texas State Time Trial (Individual)

Auuugh - tough day all around, Nicole. FWIW you are not alone the mental bit on these kind of "all-out" efforts is what gets me as well. For some reason the idea that in a triathlon I have to save a bit for the run actually seems to help me perform BETTER on the bike. Sounds like you are doing the right thing by trying to find a good coach to work with. FWIW I have found that the changes mine helped me make years ago were in many ways so obvious, but I never would have been able to make them on my own. I hope you have as much success with it as I have - in my book you are already a great athlete, but you certainly do seem to have what it takes to be even better with someone helping you figure out exactly where your edges are.

2015-06-24 1:46 PM
in reply to: #5124501

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Subject: RE: 2015 Texas State Time Trial (Individual)

It sounds like just a bad day.  You really should carry a flat kit though.  It won't cost you anything if you tuck it away neatly and can save you the potential headaches you dealt with.  

2015-06-24 8:01 PM
in reply to: Jason N

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Houston, Texas
Subject: RE: 2015 Texas State Time Trial (Individual)

Originally posted by Jason N

It sounds like just a bad day.  You really should carry a flat kit though.  It won't cost you anything if you tuck it away neatly and can save you the potential headaches you dealt with.  

The flat kit is normally attached to the rear bottle cage holder, which was removed for the race....but you're right, I should have taped something under the saddle -- would certainly have come in handy and would not have cost me anything!  Live and learn

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