by Buzz Wright
Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love TTs. This one in particular was incredibly exciting due to its complex course design, technically challenging terrain, and the unlimited number of available team tactics that would no doubt be a huge factor.
First, we lined up in numerical order and waited for our turn to climb up some stairs onto the platform. It was really, really, really cool to figure out where my place would be in the line. Once it was my turn, one of the officials held my bike steady while I clipped into my pedals, which was awesome. I clipped into the left pedal first and then the right one, which is exactly how I had planned on doing it while rehearsing it waiting in line. Another official gave me the 10-second warning and them counted me down from five. It. Was. Such. An. Epic. Count. Down.
Buzz about to do what he truly loves
Coming down the ramp from the platform is extraordinarily dangerous but I'm happy to report that I did not crash. Once I was safely on flat road I consulted the TT plan I had taped to my top tube. It read, "Start, ride, turn, ride, stop." I did some quick math in my head and determined that I should be in "ride" mode. So that's what I did.
After [who cares] minutes I arrived at quite possibly the most exhilarating, thought-intensive, tactically challenging portion of this particular TT. The turn. Luckily I had poured over the TT section of the Technical Guide and knew, without a doubt, that I would be making a right turn. This is where things got really dicey for me and I almost made a huge, enormous, gigantic error.
Apparently, in my excitement for the TT I had misread the Technical Guide and did not realize that the turn would be to the left. Fortunately though, there were around a dozen course officials with red flags yelling and pointing for me to turn left. My mind raced as I immediately assessed the situation, made a swift course correction on the fly, quickly re-positioned my body in order to take the turn on the most optimal line, and just completely railed that corner. It. Was. Oh. So. Thrilling.
I checked my top tube notes once again to see if I was at the "stop" part yet or not. I was supremely delighted to find that I still had another "ride" portion to thoroughly enjoy. So again, I rode.
Unfortunately though, all good things must come to an end. And for me, this meant only getting to experience [embarrassingly high number] minutes of this amazing TT. I crossed the finish line to thunderous applause and what appeared to be a penguin marching band. I consulted the top tube notes once again, and proceeded to "stop" just as I had planned. I learned many new things during the TT and am very happy with my performance in almost perfectly executing my plan to start, ride, turn, ride, and then stop.
All joking aside, TTs are tough and kudos to the guys that actually do well in them. I am very proud that Coul took 1st in the Cat 2 TT.
Buzz really, really enjoying life (photo by Collene Hill)
My legs were a bit sore from the TT and after my mediocre performance in the Oracle road race I didn't have much hope for this one. Luckily the climb isn't very long and I thought that I would be able to hang with the group until the last lap. Unfortunately, even though I positioned myself at the front when the climbing began and then drifted back during it, I did not have enough strength to maintain contact and ended up in a chase group of around 15 guys. I was happy though that both Jimmy and Gary where in the chase group with me. We tried for a bit to catch back up to the main group but it became apparent that it would not happen.
I was red-lined again up the climb, losing contact with the chase group but able to get back on during the descent. The final time up the climb I did my best to hold a decent position but didn't have the strength to avoid being at the back when we crossed the line. I figured I would be a few spots up from dead last but to my surprise was 37th out of 53. My lap times were 3% faster than last year and my average power was 26% higher which suggests that the competition in the 4's this year is pretty dang strong this season.
Napping after the road race
After a very fun 4th place finish in this crit last year, I had high hopes for a decent race this year. While my fitness/strength is still not back to where it should be, I felt I would be able to hang with the group for the duration. Unfortunately there was some pretty poor decisions made by other racers (one in particular) during the crit, which caused multiple crashes -- one of which took out Gary. I was agitated and frustrated with 3 laps to go but was able to get into a decent position for the final lap. The group slowed and bunched up though and I fell back without much desire to regain my position. I was sitting 15-20 back for the final corner but sprinted anyway, taking 17th out of 47. I was happy that I had done pretty well in the race but was upset with what had happened to Gary.
Overall it was a fun weekend of racing with great friends. It was a blast to see Coul again and I can't wait for this race next year.
Carb-loading at Buca di Beppo