Saturday, June 30, 2007

National Time Trial Championships

This was the goal of the season or more the motivation to do the work. After 11 years of not racing at this level I decided to try and do the Time Trial at the Elite Nationals. In Portugal if you are not under 23 racing in the U-23 category then you're racing as an Elite and that means with all of the pro's. My minute man was Jose Azevedo the former Once and Discover rider now riding for the continental team Benfica. Gee maybe I can catch him. I guess its better that he starts in front of me than behind me. The day was really hot and I was a little nervous. Nevertheless I had a lot of supporters around me including my wife, son, daughter, my parents, uncles, cousins and our friends from Spain Jorge and Mercedes Planas. My recon of the course was done in a mini-van with two kids strapped in. Pretty sure I was the only one who adopted such methods.

The race itself was good. I fought that perhaps my SRM wasn't reading well since I was in the high 300's for the first 5K of the TT and feeling pretty good. Nothing for the pro's but for me that was pretty good. After 5Km I had lost 20 seconds to Azevedo who had the best time at that point. I fought that wasn't so bad considering he was in the Pro Tour last year. I found my rhythm quickly on the flats but the hills really took their toll on me. I just couldn't get over them with much power and kept getting yelled at from the car not to take so many gears out at once. Excuse me, but it's been a while since I've done this. Heck just doing a TT in a closed course is new. Normally in the US you have to focus on the race and make sure some car isn't coming out of a side street. The second lap of this two lap course was my best and I caught somebody who was in front of me. He couldn't have been going very hard since he was on a regular bike. Still couldn't shake the little guy on the climbs. He kept looking over and I kept thinking, you've got to be kidding me. With about 5 K to go my chain fell off on a climb but I quickly put it back up without loosing too much focus. Still it breaks the rhythm. With 3 K to go I got caught and passed by Ricardo Martins who started 4 minutes behind me. At least he went on to win. I was dead by the end and managed to ride to 11th place out of 20 starters. Not so bad but not what I was hoping for either.