I found it ironic that I actually woke up earlier to race the time trial, the shortest race I'll do, than I would normally get up for the 100s. While the time trial didn't start until 9, one of my competitors, Crystal Anthony, convinced me to meet her down there to pre-ride the course which I knew was a good idea would but would otherwise have forgone the torture of getting up at 4:45. But, it was a good idea. Once I convinced myself to GET OUT OF BED Karen!, it really wasn't that bad. There is something kind of peaceful about being on the road before sunrise with few other cars and watching sun come up slowly. But it's certainly nothing I'm going to get accustomed to.
It was really chilly - a mere 30 degrees. I had on lots of layers to stay warm on the pre-ride. There was a mile road ride over to the start and about the same back from the finish. The road was chilly but once on the trail I warmed up. There was a good mix of technical sections with some fast flowy trails and dirt road section, oh and lots of bridges but more so in the 2nd half of the course.
I was glad I got up early to pre-ride as it was definitely nice to know some of the technical sections coming up as at race pace you could really fumble through them or potentially crash pretty hard.
Once back from the pre-ride, I registered and got myself ready for racing. I had convinced myself not to get overly worked up about the first race of the season especially since it was a short 8.6 mile time trial and I did pretty well at that almost to the point of not really feeling like I was at a race. I debated leaving some layers at the car but I was quite chilly from having warmed up riding and now cooled down finishing getting ready. I decided to just wear everything over and find someone who would bring back my stuff to the parking area or just ride back over to grab it. I got over to the start area and hung out with the rest of the stellar women's field.
We ended up waiting until 9:30 to start as all the expert men started before us. So needless to say, I was freezing by the time I started. I did a half-hearted little ride up a hill before having to start thinking I had a couple more minutes but all of sudden I'm being called to the start line with less than a minute to go. Crap... I was going to take off my vest and possibly my booties but no time for that now. I guess I'll just sweat but I don't mind being hot. Unfortunately my fingers were freezing. I couldn't feel my brake fingers especially my left middle finger that I have hurt a couple of times. It took a good 10 minutes for feeling to come back around. I kept hitting the brake to just make sure I could still use it even though I could barely feel it.
I hadn't felt particularly stellar on the pre-ride so I wasn't sure how the time trial was going to feel. Once on course though I felt pretty good and got into a decent rhythm. I fumbled some of the technical sections and cleared some that I fumbled during the pre-ride. It was a really fun course overall that kept your attention for the most part. It was nice knowing that I would be done in less than an hour and with that in mind it was easier to keep asking myself can I go harder and faster. I knew I had to make sure I kept up my pace on the less technical sections as Crystal is a super strong cyclocross racer and if she was going to make time up on me it was most likely going to be on those sections. Although pre-riding with her she seemed quite capable on the technical sections as well.
The last section coming into the finish felt like a long stretch, longer than when pre-riding but when you're maxed out for the past 45 minutes that's to be expected. I finished in 46 minutes and change feeling pretty good about my effort and how my body felt, also very happy that I wasn't doing another lap. I was teased at the start that I had to do 10 laps and they'd average the 10 laps for me. No way - not this year... :)
I waited around for the next few women to finish. I saw Crystal finish and kind of gauged we were super close in finish time and we were - 8 seconds. Pretty crazy. I rode back over the parking area and it was now a beautiful 50 degrees out. My buddy John Beaupre and I rode another lap to cool down. It was a good idea to help flush the legs out. They definitely were feeling the little climbs.
Well nice way to start off the season. I was pleased to see that the long off-season for me thus far seems to have been a good thing as I drove home being a bit more excited for the rest of the season. It is just one short race and there are many more to go. Just need to get rid of the rest of this snow here -- soon!!