For the last road TT of the season, I decided to try out the new Benicia TT offered by the Taleo racing team.
I did not pre-ride the course, but had a good description from my team mate, Marsha. It was a 12 mile out and back course.
It was already at least in the 80s F at the start, if not into the 90s. I was sweating like a little piggy on the trainer, but the legs felt good as I warmed up, and I made sure I got enough effort before the start, so it didn't hurt too bad.
The start heads straight down a steep hill for about 1km. It was a little sketchy for the aero bars, so I just got up to speed and moved into the bars once I got to the bottom. There were a couple more descents in the first 3km, which didn't bode too well for the end of the race. But, the pavement was good, the road quiet, and there was a breeze that was neither head nor tail - all in all good conditions.
Since I didn't have a good grasp on the course, and it appeared to be all rolling and never completely flat, I decided to not think of it as 1st half and 2nd half, but rather a series of uphills and downhills. I would go as hard as I could without cracking on the uphills and then back off and try to recover on the downhills. It was definitely more climbing in the 2nd half than the first, so a reverse split would be hard. I got pretty close, though. I turned at 17:30ish and finished at 35:29. So, maybe about 40 seconds away from an even/reverse split. Basically, I'm riding 12 miles in the time it took me to do 10 at the beginning of the season.
I have been really pleased with my season - continually improving and taking time off my previous efforts for races. In my first TT of the season (a low-key 10 mile race), I was dead last. In my second TT, I took over 3 minutes off last year's time for a 10 mile course. The next TT was 10 miles, but hillier, and I took another 45 seconds off. I did a longer TT at almost 20 mph average, and the district championship TT at just over 21 mph average. Today, I was between 20-21, but with heat and significant terrain. But, the best thing was that I was 5th of 11. I've officially moved into the top half of the results. And, I'm getting closer to that podium each time. I'm really enjoying the TTs as they do not strike fear in my heart the way pack races do, and I can really judge my improvement objectively and not against an ever-changing group of competitors.
My last two races of the season will be pursuits on the track. And, I'm looking forward to 2010 and improving even more!