Sunday, August 21, 2011

2011 Kirke Vei Time Trial

MadCity Velo’s website describes the Kirke Vei Time Trial as a “technically challenging and hilly course that will test your management of power output over the entire 20K distance.”  Except for the slightly exaggerated length of the route—it wasn’t quite 20 kilometers—the race lived up to its billing on Saturday.

I rode as well as I was able, finishing the 12.2-mile course in 36:06.99, a 20.27 mph average.  Overall I placed 73rd out of 99 finishers, and 9th out of 13 in the non-aero “stock bike” category, won by Dean Lazenby in 31:46.79.

My day began inauspiciously, as I had slept poorly and just felt not quite right.  And the weather turned rainy by the time I reached the halfway point of my drive to Dane County.  Once I got to Madison, however, the rain was ending and the clouds were breaking up.  I still had almost two hours before my start time and hoped that the roads would dry out.  And they did, but not before the weather conditions forced a delay in starting the event.  No one seemed to mind the delay, as wet roads on this already technical course would have made for more dangerous racing.

Last Sunday when I pre-rode the course I identified the first three miles as a potential trap.  The downhill start begs you to go fast but then there are three little hills just waiting to put you in the red.  I rode this section faster than I thought I would, spurred on by race-day adrenaline.  The morning rain may have helped here by smoothing out the loose gravel from a recent chip-and-seal resurfacing.

At about 15 minutes elapsed, Travis Goodlund caught me for 3 minutes and rode away easily in his aerodynamic tuck.  Goodlund finished 3rd in this year’s WCA state time trial championship, Masters 40-44, behind winner Jeff Otto and West Bend’s own Jeff Melcher.  He was the only rider to pass me.  Otto was the overall winner in a course-record 26:31.55 on Saturday as the Kirke Vei TT returned to its traditional route after a couple of years on a shorter route dictated by road construction.  Goodlund was 7th overall at 29:24.03.  My minute man, Chris Mueller, is a frequent 35-39 age group winner in the Wisport series and I wasn’t surprised not to see him again after the starting line.

In the middle of the course, where I knew I had to be good, I was good.  At about the 9-mile mark I spotted a Team Wheel & Sprocket rider.  Finally, someone to chase down!  It’s a great incentive to see the gap close as you pursue the rider ahead of you.  Roughly a mile later we turned onto County Highway W for a gradual ½-mile climb up to Drotning Road.  Here the gap fell dramatically, giving me confidence that I could make the catch on the tough hill at the end of Drotning, still about 1.5 miles away.  Not until the bottom of that last climb did I recognize the rider as Melissa Putzer, who had started 2 minutes ahead of me.  Knowing I had taken 2 minutes out of her propelled me past her on the hill, around the last two corners and across the finish line.

My average heart rate during the TT was 157 (85%) and my maximum was 170 (92%).  It was a very solid effort and a lot of fun.  I also enjoyed hanging out with the other racers once my ride was done.  This event had been on my To Do list for the last few years, but always got bumped off for one reason or another.  Now that I’ve done it, I hope to do it again.

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