Gary wins Gold - New England Masters Individual Time Trial
Call me crazy, but time trailing is one of those things I really love doing on a bike. This year a lack of opportunities that fit my schedule meant I had not yet done one, not even a mid-week TTs like the Expo Wheelmen put on earlier in the season. So, I threw my hat in the ring to represent for the Aetna - Expo Wheelmen at the New England Regional Championships this weekend. The course is a great one with a mix of rolling terrain, a few climbs and a couple of ripping downhills. Better still, the roads are within riding distance from my old house, so intimately familiar to me as my old training ground.
In time trialing, keeping focus is essential but difficult on a course like this one with its ups and downs. It is also important to plan pacing, both to take advantage of best spots to gain time but also to avoid blowing up and losing a lot.
This course throws a few shorter climbs early on followed by downhills where you can get a bit of rest without losing much time so I thought a good strategy was to hit those relatively hard, going slightly into the red. The one longer climb follows several miles of slight downhill that lets you get ready to hit the longer power climb before the fast descent and approximately mile flat into slight uphill to the finish.
Equipment is also important and, while power can help a lot, I opted to go old school by feel so I could run my Bontrager Aeolus 9s. Also with the day starting to get hotter, I opted to sport my Bontrager Ballista rather than a full TT lid because it really doesn't give up much in drag. Of course, I rocked my long sleeve Craft TT suit and aero booties to get that full aero advantage.
Start times were randomly seeded with all age groups interspersed, but as luck would have it, one of my most serious competitors in the 45-49 group, Rob Lyons, was my 30 second man behind me. Knowing how he can go uphill, I had to alter plan a bit to go harder and open a gap in the first few miles.
Overall, the race went well. I kept to plan, was almost a bit too conservative in the longer power descent to the climb but had good sensations on the climbs, especially the last, ripped the final downhill and had enough to go all out and empty myself in the finish. I sweated for the next thirty or so seconds to see Rob roll across the line, too close to tell who had taken it!
When we got back to the middle school where registration was, it was evident we were in for a wait on results. It also became apparent that our other main rival, Kyle Wolfe was also roughly even on unofficial time, so it was snail biter for the three of us. But when results were finally posted, I had taken it with only 12 seconds separating first and third. Taking home gold as the New England Regional 45-49 Masters TT champion was just the icing on a great race and a truly enjoyable day out representing for the team.