A quick shower, get some food in my belly, and then catch an hour or two of sleep before the afternoon time trial.
I wake up feeling a little groggy, legs feeling like sacks of sand from the climbing and attacking of the road stage this morning. I change the flat on my race wheel and swap it out with my spare. I do a quick check of my front tire and make sure it’s topped off with air. No special TT bike for me. Time to warm up.
Start times are determined based on a reverse finishing order from this morning. My start time is set at 2:10 PM. The time trial course is flat and pretty short (10K) so it’s going to be all out from the gun. To warm up, I do a series of short sprints to get my heart rate up and awaken the legs. It’s almost go time so I get in the racer queue and wait my turn. The starter is sending racers out every minute. My goal: catch the guy in front of me.
The starter counts down the guy in front of me. Off he goes. My carrot. I feel like Bugs Bunny. What’s up doc?
Getting nervous… Why? I’m not sure, maybe because I know I can do well here. If there’s a chance to succeed there’s also a chance to fail. Fear of failure makes me nervous.
I roll up to the line, at 20 seconds, I clip in and one of the attendants holds my saddle. My legs are shaking. The attendant has his work cut out for him since I’m having a hard time keeping my balance. 5 seconds, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!
I give a mighty push on my left pedal and start moving. Nerves subside with forward motion. I’ve got something else to think about. My carrot.
I’m in way too easy of a gear so I shift 3 or 4 times. The wind is brutal, a warmish head/crosswind that insists on pushing me to the left. I keep drifting over and continually correcting my line. My legs are tiring and I desperately want to shift but I can see my guy up the road. Can’t ease up now, I’m gaining and I need to pass him before the finish.
I’m breathing so hard that if I stop pedaling, I bet I would pass out. I’m still gaining and I’m almost in his slipstream. About 12 inches from his rear wheel, I pull to the left and begin to overtake him. He glances over at me, I can only imagine the sight he sees. Eyes bugged out, mouth agape, head down and shoulders slouched, every bit of energy I have is going into the pedals.
I’m suffocating myself. I could slow down and let the oxygen flow back into my brain but not with the finish line so close. A slight uphill rise to the finish. About 50 meters to go, I stand on the pedals and give one last push over the line. It’s done. I can stop killing myself. I shift to my 39 and alternate coasting and soft pedaling. Gradually the world around me comes back and I turn around and head back to the hotel.
Results: 10th place!
Last Stage to come....