Kirke Vei Time Trial near Cottage Grove. It doesn’t suit my abilities particularly well. Three deceptively tough little hills in the first three miles will make it hard for me to settle into a comfortable rhythm. The middle of the course is where I will need to shine. It’s not flat, but I should be able to climb in the big chainring and then hammer the descents. At about 8.5 miles there’s a switchback climb to a summit you can’t see from the base, so I’m hoping some of my opponents will hit the climb too hard and blow up before the top. At 10 miles there’s an annoying little grinder that ends with a right-hand turn and an out-of-the-saddle sprint onto Drotning Road. It will be full gas down Drotning for almost 1.5 miles until I hit the steepest climb on the entire route. Race organizers refer to it as “the wall” and indeed it is steep, but it’s not a long climb and I’ll be very motivated to get over it knowing that less than ½-mile remains in the race. Among the skinny guys on expensive TT bikes, this climb will separate winners from losers.
So, having ridden the course a couple of times today, I know I’m heading for a hurting. I don’t think I’ll be the slowest racer, but I’ll be a long way from the top. I averaged 17.1 mph today, riding at a comfortable pace while reading all the road signs, scanning for potholes, etc. On Saturday I will be happy if I can crack a 20 mph average. The strategy will be a good warmup and a sensible approach to those first three miles.