by Michael Hast
Praise the LORD and congratulations to Gary and Michael for placing on the podium at the 2017 Arizona State Time Trail (TT) Championship. Congratulations also to our competitors Kevin, Greg and Scott.
We got up early Sunday morning driving to Arizona City. I decided to ride in the 40+ Merckx category because I don't have a TT bike. I also thought to myself, it would be good training for the upcoming Bike the Bluff Cat 3 Road Race Championship, staying in the aero position as long as I could. Gary started in the Cat 4 category.
My goal was to keep my threshold power as steady as I could. I have never raced with a power meter before and knew that it would be challenging to keep that power up. Right before the race I remember that I hadn't calibrated my power meter and in the rush of heading to the start line, the calibration failed. Well, I should have done this at warmup. Once I started, my Garmin showed nothing for power. I thought to myself, well, the power meter battery must have died, even though I just replaced it 2 weeks ago. Ok, heart rate it is. I started out hard, my heart rate went into race zone and I started to wonder if I am pushing it too hard. I caught the rider who started 30 seconds ahead of me in my category fairly soon. That gave me even more reason to speculate if I am hitting it too hard. After passing the rider, boom, power data was showing again.
Calibrated or not, I was glad it was back and now I focused on my threshold power. It was very hard to stay at that number, the bumpy road, the perceived head wind, the fatigue. I was very glad to see the turn around point. I passed a few riders on the way to the turn around, but after that no more passing. That made it much harder going back, even though there was no head nor tail wind. I saw Brandon and Jesse who raced in the Merckx Under 40 category in the far distance, but never made any gain on them. It is alway nice to have a target ahead of you. I tried to stay as aero as possible on my road bike, continuing to focus on my power data. After 1:02:26 I crossed the finish line, winning the Merckx 40+ category.
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