June 24, 2011 (Belfountain, ON) – Well… I was thinking there isn’t too much to report on when you do a TT but then I figured I might as well share what I went through today – it is the Nationals and all. You might think I was worried about the race but the truth is the initial stress is knowing whether you bike is legal or not. I haven’t had mine checked in a while and I have had a few upgrades and had changed the bars so I was worried I would have to adjust things.
It wasn’t too bad but I had to move the saddle and the bars back 2cm. Getting this out of the way early was huge for me and I recommend you to show up early and get things checked out right away to avoid the stress of knowing if your bike will pass inspection or not.
So…the bike is good, I’m hydrated, had a great sleep and I haven’t forgot to bring any of my gear! This has me feeling like today is my day. The problem is what’s to come. A 43km TT is tough. I don’t do too many of them during the season and this was my first one since Nationals last year.
Doing a 15km TT is tough as well….but I do one every other week which is great and I believe I have that distance down. I thought I was on form and ready for the 43km distance because of how well I have been riding the 15km TTs but after doing the 43km TT on Thursday I can’t believe how wrong I was.
The first lap was incredible. I knew I had good legs and I got over the early rollers with ease. I enjoyed the fast tailwind section after the climbs and it had me thinking today was my day (again). I bombed around the course in my 56X11 telling myself I had things dialed in and to keep the pedal to the metal. As I came through the start finish to end the first lap I took the corner very fast and stood out of it to pump myself up and give a little show for the people watching.
The sprint out of the corner had me breathing pretty hard and as I came to the first incline I was panting like a dog in heat. This time up the grade I wasn’t the same guy as on lap one. I geared down and then down again struggling to keep momentum.
I got over the top feeling over-extended and didn’t gear down and settle in as fast as I had done on the first lap. I needed to recover and the rollers to come wouldn’t let me. This is where I let myself down. As I looked up the road I could see my 2-min man and my 3-min man. (I didn’t get a 1-min man because Fillion was sick and was a no-show).
Seeing them so close made me think I was still going good or even thinking I had gone too hard and to stay doing what I was doing and not crank things back up. But reeling them in, even though I had laid off a bit to catch my breath, messed me up.
That’s when I got the kick in the nuts. I wasn’t going as good as I thought and the two guys up the road were not having very good days either. Do you want to know how I found out? Andrew Randell (SpiderTech) rolled by me with a head of steam on him and quickly got 10 meters on me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He started one minute behind and had now made up all that time and rolled by looking for more.
I got things rocking right away and caught right back up with him. On the next right hander we hit I tried to go outside of him to pass him back. We got going on the straight again and I just sat there matching his pace. As we came to the next incline he slowly inched away again.
I’m now doing what I should have been doing all along…I’m HURTING! I come over the top of the hill and came screaming down the other side making up some lost ground and passed the two guys that started in front of me right after Randell also passed them. I rock the last 4-5km and came down the last stretch with way too much in the tank. It’s an awful feeling. Leaving some of it out on the course hurts way more than blowing up and struggling to finish.
My little lapse costs me a few spots. Now I’m not delusional and please don’t think I saying I would have beat Andrew today. He was going GOOD! And after seeing the times and knowing what I went through out there a top 5-6 just wasn’t happening for me. The problem is I know I left more than 20-30 seconds out there and that’s what hurts most of all.
These opportunities don’t come around everyday. Illness, injury, lack of training etc. can happen to the best of us and when you’re lucky to have everything going well – you’re on form, you have a long streak without sickness, and you’re pain free – you “need” to seize the day. I lost focus, I stepped out of the pain cave for a few km and it cost me.
This experience will only bring the best out of me in the future. Do you know why? Because I won’t let it happen again. I have experienced it once now and I never want to feel like this again.
The Elite/U23 Men’s National road race is this Saturday (June 25) and I advise you to grab some popcorn because it is going to be quite the show!