Yesterday marked the return to bike racing. My first organized race since my accident of May 2015. It wasn't a big race, just a 10 mile time trial, perfect to ease back into competitive cycling, and to really put my new Specialized Shiv through its paces. It was a great opportunity to capture my outdoor FTP (functional threshold power).
I really missed the racing atmosphere the last (almost) two years, and it was great to be in that environment again. Many of the faces have changed since my last race in 2015, and many of the familiar faces have since upgraded to different categories.
I wish I could have performed better on the time trial, but being out of racing for so long, and now training for an Ironman ... my legs still have some growing to do. Regardless, I still think I did pretty good for my circumstances, and where I'm at in my training. I got the data I needed for my outdoor FTP, I managed through my headaches, and most importantly ... I had fun.
So good stuff out of the way.
My performance should have been better... Period. Looking back at the race, and the data, I regret the strategy I decided to go with. I was very hesitant going into my big front cog, fearing I wouldn't be able to sustain myself for the full time trial. But very quickly staying in the low chainring, everything was just too easy, and my power output started to suffer because of it, as well as a very high cadence. I was hoping to remedy the situation with just going to my harder gears in my rear cassette. That was my first mistake, I should have just switch to the big chainring. It wasn't enough. I felt I was too far committed with my strategy to switch it up, thinking if I did switch I would loose a great deal of momentum, and would have to burn extra matches to make up the lost ground. Looking back, I should have risked it. The course was short enough that burning a few extra matches wouldn't be an issue.
My next goof up was at the turn around point.
Just to give some perspective... I just started riding my Shiv at the end of last year, I've only put 910 miles on it so far. Before that I did all my rides on my Specialized S-works Tarmac Disc. What is that so important? My shiv is carbon rim brakes, versus, my S-works having disc brakes. Not going to go into the specifics, but disc brakes, you can go into corners a lot faster, as the braking distance is shorter. Carbon rim brakes, and simply how the brakes are designed on the Shiv, require a lot more braking distance.
So back to my issues with the turn around. For some reason I though I had disc brakes agains. I came into the corner WAY too fast, and quickly was reminded that carbon brakes SUCK! So I had a fun skid out, and almost sliding out at the turn. So right off the bat, messing up that turn cost me valuable seconds.
Hindsight is always 20/20 after reflecting on things. If I went with my other strategy, my power output would have been way higher, and my overall average speed would have been high, resulting in being more competitive in the field. That's why we look back on our races, and find the areas to improve, and incorporate changes to the training plan, so that you don't make the same mistakes twice.
Live and learn, and race another day 🙂!