My first time trial has come and gone. It has taken me two days to actually be able to wrap my head around the experience and have a few spare seconds to sit down and blog it.
What a fun race.
In retrospect of course.
I looked forward to the race all day on Wednesday despite some spectacular female cramps, nerves + new prenatal vitamins upsetting my stomach, and preparing for a big presentation to the staff about a horribly borring topic at our staff meeting. By the time the race rolled around, I viewed it as the easy part of the day. All I had to do was ride. It was nice to have that little sweet escape in the day to focus on only one thing that I could control.
We loaded the Element with a surprising amount of stuff for two people that are only racing for less than an hour combined. We drove down to my old 'hood, stood in line for a while to get our numbers and a t-shirt (YES! I don't see rides as worth my time unless they give me a t-shirt of course), and then headed back to the car for a very short warmup. Poor Chris had to put up with my rookie questions like "what do I wear?" and "how many cliffblocks should I eat?" and "do you think I'll die?". He's a wonderfully patient husband. You would think someone so elite in the sport would've dropped someone like me on the side of the road a long time ago. He even helped me practice the start in our dining room the night before. He knew I'd be mortified pulling up to the start line not knowing that the guys hold your bike while you get clipped in -- he also knew I'd probably freak out not having control of how my bike was standing -- so I strapped on my bike shoes with my pj's the night before and we practiced 3 or 4 times. He didn't even die laughing when I freaked out as he was holding me, put my shoe down, slid on the cleat and scratched our nice wood floor. I do love him.
Anyway, Chris and I pulled up to the starting line, noticing a few of our group were not going off on their scheduled time. We hoped they would get there and head off soon as I watched hubby disappear VERY quickly into the distance.
My turn was next.
I nervously joked with two of the other girls in our group who would leave after me and I pulled up to the starting tent. I made retarded small talk with the two volunteers (can you say NEWBIE?) and they counted me down and gave me a nice shove as I yelled back a polite thank you.
I stood up and cranked up to speed (the only time I stood during the race) and sat down trying not to freak out. I felt remarkably calm knowing what I had to do, knowing the part of the course where the boys said my andrenaline would wear off and reality would set in. I was a little ticked that there was a decent headwind heading out and around to the back hill. In our practice rides, I remember the leadup to *the hill* being a nice little cruise before cranking up the very deceitful climb. During the race, there was no little cruise. Let's just say the words "*&^%ing wind" repeated in my head with each pedal stroke for at least a mile. At least there would be a tail wind back -- that's how I reasoned myself back into a positive state of mind. If I turned the pedals faster, I would hit the turn around and get a smooth ride with the wind pushing me home. HA! Who was I kidding? This is Colorado afterall.
When I hit the turn around I glanced back (the only time in the race) -- mostly to make sure I wouldn't cut someone off in the tight turn. Knowing there were three girls in my group that started behind me I was scared to death they would be hanging right on my wheel. I was happy to see that I was out of the turn around and headed back homeward by the time I saw the next girl behind me heading into the turn around.
I pushed a little harder, not wanting to be passed by two of the girls (I knew it was just a matter of time before Michelle passed me -- she was on the road team in College and has a pretty serious bike and a lot of experience under her belt). Michelle passed me at some point in some tight turns and we were typical girls and giggled a quick "Hi! Doing great!" to each other as she passed. I tried to hang with her for a little bit but she was down in her aero-bars and I just couldn't get moving that fast sitting up into the wind. I tried to crouch down with my hands in the hoods, but that didn't do it. Oh well. I still had to stay ahead of Melissa and Jeanie. I rode a bit more and at one point thought Jeanie passed me, but according to the times, it must not have been her. Score. I was so nervous that Melissa would come up on me at any second so it kept me moving.
All was good on the way back minus the *&^%ing wind blowing in my face again. At that point I just had to laugh. Someone upstairs has a sense of humor for sure. Trying to ignore the tight pain in my chest from working so hard, I tried to sing songs in my head and keep my mph steady around 18.2. As I got within 3 miles of the finish my left calf cramped up like crazy. I pedaled a few more times hoping it would go away, and it only got worse. Then the foot cramped. My 18.2 mph speed dropped to 14 and every pedal stroke made me feel like crying. I was so frustrated (hence screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" at the top of my lungs while scaring the crap out of some guy passing me -- whoops). I had been working my butt off this whole time and I didn't want to let a freaking cramp get in my way of being happy with the race. I also knew there was nothing I could do to fix it until I got to the finish, so I cranked my speed back up in hopes of getting back sooner and making it better. Everything hurt, I was really thirsty, I felt like I was going to puke, but I still didn't want to get passed. Chris once told me "you have a lot more capacity to suffer than you know" and his words pushed me to the end. I also focused on the fact that if I want to have a baby, labor is going to feel a lot worse than that for a lot longer. I couldn't break down and let up.
I came clomping around the corner and saw the boys cheering me on. I kept thinking the finish line would be "now.. maybe now.. now.. if it doesn't come now I'm going to die.. is it moving?" until I finally finished 34:52 after starting (hey, I creamed my goal of not getting over 40:00). A combination of a big week, some hard work, stupid wind, stupid cramps, and some pride welled up and I spontaneously bust out crying after I finished. I felt like a moron and pulled myself together before anyone noticed. Little did I know, but my mom and dad had made the drive over and saw both Chris and I finish. They apparently cheered but I didn't hear them. It was exciting that they were there to support me. I didn't do sports growing up and I think it was the first time they've actually seen me compete in anything -- even if it is just competing against myself and the other girls in my group. It was fun.
We got in warm clothes, said goodbye to the parents, and headed off to Old C's with the crew. My foot and leg continued to cramp until after dinner and then I fell fast asleep on the way home as Chris graciously drove us home.
Congratulations to everyone who rode. I'm proud of all of us. We all kicked our own butts and rode good rides in the wind. Special congratulations to Chris on his 5th place finish! Holy freaking cow. He never seizes to amaze and impress me. The first time on his time trial bike in a year, the first time doing any ride with intense speed in a year and he can still pull off a 5th place finish. I feel very lucky that I get him as my own personal coach.