Race Report – Red Kite #4 Tempus Fugit Time Trial – Rich Gellert
I had planned on doing two TT’s today. The first the M35+ 1/2/3 as a warm up and course recon and then the real race the M35+ 3/4. I was targeting a strong race this day as I had done a few TT’s already and gotten 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in them. I had also been training on the TT bike and seen some good numbers. My form was coming along quite well and this would be a good test of where I was.
Unfortunately, exactly one week prior to today I got a mild/medium case of food poisoning my last day in Reno. I had to take 2 days off the bike. The rest of the week I could only do short slow rides and I really felt like crap. The day before the TT I went out for 2 hours and set a pretty brisk pace to open up the legs and I felt pretty decent. Not 100% but good enough to race the next day.
Sunday was predicted 30% chance of showers and cool and breezy temps. I got to the race and a light drizzle had started and temps were barely above 50. I had never done the course but form previous research it seems to be about a 500 foot climb 5.5 miles out to the turn around and back down. 11 miles total. Some windy and twisty sections as well. Last year’s top times for the P1/2 field were low 25 mins. And in my field mid 26 mins. That was my goal.
Plan was to use the first M1/2/3 race as a warm up and to check the course and see where I could go all out and where I needed to conserve. So off I went…The climb was more difficult than my research had told me…. There were several short steep pitches and generally a long grind that would hurt bad during my actual TT effort.
In between the warm up race and the actual race I had about 45 mins. So I popped a gel, hydrated, put my TT helmet on and went out on the course to practice the last 2 miles of the twisty downhill section. There was one corner I didn’t feel safe on the extensions. All the others were doable if you hit the apex right. One thing I have been doing the last 2 years for TT races is time my start perfectly and roll up 30-60 seconds before my designated start time. It gives me maximal warm up time and minimal time for my legs to cool down and let the nerves get worked up waiting for my start. It has worked perfectly every time….except for this time. I decided to take a quick nature break to empty my bladder and this is what cost me starting on time. As I rushed back to the start I watched my Garmin count down the minutes….I was going full bore and my heart rate was at race pace when I came up to the start tent. The guy behind me was lined up and the two officials were looking at me funny. I asked if I could go and the start lady said go go go. The rider waiting screamed out “go Rich!!!!” and off I went in a blur. I was really frustrated at myself and I’m sure this cost me some time as I tried to regain my focus.
The 5.5 miles out were really tough. All uphill with a few steep kickers and really breezy conditions. It didn’t feel like a tail wind but more gusting from all sides. I kept my heart rate at my normal TT pace of 182-184 BPM. I recently started using a power meter so didn’t really pay attention to that but more my perceived excursion. I tried to remember to not burn too many matches on the way out as I really wanted to hammer the downhill return that suited my beer loving physique a bit more. I kept my cadence high (105-115) on the uphill section so as not to load up legs too much.
As I looked behind me to see how far back the guy that started behind me was it dawned on me who he was. He seemed to know me as he was the one that yelled “go Rich!”. He was gaining on me and I thought that was a bit unusual as I thought I was going pretty well…even though he did start 20 seconds behind me because of my missed start. Well I realized this was Todd, the guy that took my overall GC the last stage of the Topsport Stage race 2 weekends before. I had a 36 second lead and thought I was totally safe for the final stage, an 11 mile TT. He destroyed me and put 1:30 into my TT time and took the overall leaving me in 2nd.
At the turn around at the 5.5 mile mark he was literally 5 seconds behind me. I made the slow wet turn around fine and proceeded to absolutely bury myself on the return 5.5 miles. I didn’t look back for the first 3 miles of the downhill and when I finally did he was at least 30-45 second back! Nice I thought keep it going. I was blazing at kept digging deeper clicking into hard gears. 200 M to go and I just crushed myself picking my watts up to 900W.
Todd and I talked after and he was a bit surprised he didn’t catch me on the return but did admit to going a bit too hard on the way out to try and catch me there. At the end of the day I ended up 4th…even with a late start . According to my Garmin I would have placed 3rd…but I wonder if I had a smooth, non frustrated start would I have been able to make up the 18 second Todd beat me by????
Lesson learned..... Get to the start 2-3 mins before your designated time. Screw the nerves!