Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A trip to watch the US Pro TT, and a Memorial Day Race Report.

So I had a bit of a rocky trip to Chattanooga over the weekend. I had planned to leave Friday afternoon and come back Monday afternoon after the Pro Road Race.  Sadly my friend had to work late on Friday and go in at 2 in the afternoon on Monday... which really cut into that plan. I was a bit bummed, but figured that the TT was what I was really interested in anyways, so I'd manage.

Of course, I forgot to pack my camera...

Sometimes I'm not the brightest star in the sky. :(

Part of the very odd VW plant

As for the actual race day... it was pretty awesome. Everything had a very friendly feel to it... I just wandered around between the little "fair/expo" setup, the Volkswagen trailer setups, and even the pro warmup / buses / mechanic areas. Honestly, if it were me personally, I'd have been a bit more leery of some random guy walking around my multiple thousand dollar wheels/bikes/helmets (I really want one of those Lazer Wasp helmets) but they were pretty cool about it, the KENDA team mechanics even let me quiz them on their new Microshift components (the TT shifters look AWESOME! Almost exactly like SRAM's 900's.)

Pretty snazzy TT shifters from Microshift

I got to stand right at the start ramp for most of the women's field, and at the first turn (I was on TV! Hi Mom!) for all of the men. Carmen Small had an insanely good ride, she was crushing that second lap. Zirbel also caught me off guard... I was thinking to myself "Is he on a road bike?" and sure enough... he won the whole thing on an Orca with Aerobars. Of course, he's a beast who has been towards the pointy end for years. (with quite a few 2nd places at the USpro TT)

Small on her Shiv. The only thing that's odd is that she is running two GP Attack tires, which were supposed to be the front only part of the GP Force/Attack race combo.
Zirbel opted for a modified Orca instead of the TT bikes the rest of the team were using. His position looked great regardless, so I suppose it came down to what made sense regarding the UCI's regulations.

After the finish (and in light of a ridiculous sunburn I suffered... woops) we returned to our hotel and proceeded to explore downtown Chattanooga. Despite drinks borderlining on ludicrous prices at most establishments, we were able to find a nice calm pub (Hair of the Dog if you're ever in the area) where the staff understood the plight of two sunburned spectators. On a side note... Chattanooga Whiskey (it's a brand) is absolutely terrible. I had considered myself a connoisseur of rot gut booze up until this point, but wow... that stuff was bad. After a moderately mellow (considering the circumstances) evening, we piled in the cab and turned in early. (Like 8:30 early...haha) The next morning we grudgingly packed our stuff and started the trip back home. It was on the trip home that I remembered there was a race on Memorial Day (Foothills Sprint) that I had been a bit bummed to miss when I was planning to attend the events in Chattanooga... well, no excuse not to be there now!

Weekend Saved!

I got home and got the shorties slapped on the CAAD, cover on the rear and Jet 9 suited up with some latex... then vegged out in front of the TV and played some Video Games. (While tactically ignoring the piles of laundry I needed to do) you know, the perfect pre-race routine :)

//Race Report\\

I start off the morning with the normal routine, 2 Eggs, Corn tortilla shell, 1cup Oatmeal, 1 Banana, 2 cups of coffee and 32oz of water. I load the car and make the short drive to the venue (seriously like 2 miles from my house)
I unload, get signed in and find a spot to rack and set up in transition. I see Josh (Wade, who also has a blog worth checking out) and his father and we spend some time chatting.

I get a long warmup in (something I've been trying to change lately, as historically I don't do much in the way of warming up.) with a couple of bike repeats, a long(ish) run (where I ran into/met Lloyd who was warming up on the bike - thanks for reading Lloyd, shoutout!) and a longer than usual swim. I could tell my swim wasn't on par with where it was last year, so I decided to seed myself back a bit farther than usual.  (Also, had 1 Apple Lar Bar about 15' before race start for those who are sticklers about nutrition on race day)

Swim: (6:06)
I probably lined up too far back even though I was correct in my assumption that I would be a bit slower than last year. Honestly, after my DNF in Florida, I was a little bit nervous despite this being a short pool swim. I got in the water and felt great however. I knew I wasn't pushing my pace too hard, but I was passing people regularly and figured I'd do myself a bigger favor by feeling great coming out as opposed to burning a match sprinting. I even had a second to give my mom and dad a thumbs up during a stroke towards the exit side.

Yay swimming

Transition 1: (1:11)
Not the fastest transition, but two seconds faster than last year. I guess that's fine considering I've literally done 0 practice since the end of last year. The run from the pool to t1 is fairly long and over some loose gravel, but my rawhide feet bottoms accept it with impunity. I slap on my helmet and glasses and run out of t1. Hop on the bike and we're off to the races.

You know, just hangin out

Bike: (28:09)
I've been paying pretty close attention to the pros/cons of running my road bike with shorties over my dedicated tri bike. On the downside, I was a tad slower this year (:12 to be exact) despite almost certainly having better fitness overall, however, I felt smoother on the hills and like I was putting in less damage to my legs the whole time (of course that's entirely unfounded by anything other than "feel.") Being able to have a true "climbing" position helped on this course too imo, since it's a pretty fair course to only be 10 miles. My actual ride was pretty uneventful, I spent plenty of time catching people who had outswam me, and burned through the course at a pretty solid pace. Historically I've suffered pretty good on the last "big" climb, but I hit it smooth and in control this year. I'd say this was a great ride despite being a bit slower.

I can turn! I can turn!

Transition 2: (:30)
Coming back in on the bike you enter the parking lot where there are speed bumps. It's deceptively easy to carry a lot of speed through this area, and when I hit the first bump my foot goes shooting off the top of my shoe. I recover, but slow it down over the next one. I ride in with style (leg over the top, hold it...hold it... woosh) and serve up a quick T2 at :09 better than last year! That's pretty nice.

Run: (17:08)
This is a pretty short run at only 4k, but it's one that can really put you in the hurt locker. Heading into the turnaround is almost all uphill, and all but the very last couple hundred meters into the finish is also a gradual climb. I have to say I felt great going out and continued to feel good all the way back in. I was :41 faster than I was last year, which is to be expected due to increased run mileage, but I think also somewhat due to a bit fresher legs off the bike. I suppose I still have an embarrassingly slow run (first 4 overall had the 4 fastest run splits of the day... me in 5th... the 17th fastest... yeah...) but progress is being made!

Sprinting to the end

Overall: (53:02) 5th Overall (2nd AG)


After the race it was chill out time. I talked with Josh again for a bit and we checked results to find we both got 1st in our AG (As we're now in different AG's... since I'm old and all that...) and finished 5th/6th overall. I met another BT'er (Volfireman) when we were cleaning out transition, always awesome to put a face with a name on the forums! Waited around and got my award/towel, then packed it in and returned to the house to start the chores I had been neglecting. Ahh the sweet spoils of victory...

Our Local TT series starts next Wednesday night, so it's possible I wait until Thursday for next weeks updates. I'm terribly excited about the new course we have mapped out, it looks straight, fast and fun!

Thanks everyone for reading, I truly appreciate it!

-Christopher Morelock

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