First hard ride of the week went well, but near the end of the workout I was feeling massively fatigued, overly so, and I was forced to shut it down and consequently sit the rest of the week out, throat sore and nose/chest all congested… I wasn’t planning on doing Cape May, a touch too far away, but Freifelder signed up and he’d beaten me in the first two TTs, so I wasn’t in a position to give away 10 more points like that…
So I went to bed at 6:30 on SAT night, woke up at 3:30. Black thunderstorms. Very heavy. I’m off at 4 and get to Cape May at 7. It was raining everywhere… everywhere BUT on the TT course. Just a sliver of dryness. Funny how that works.
I warmed up on the road as I usually do, with arm and leg warmers on, doing some high-cadence work, then a few jumps. The legs felt fresh, but that’s not always a good thing before a TT… From experience, sometimes “too” fresh feeling legs can mean a weaker ride… But it was what it was.
The worst thing about the morning was that my cadence sensor wasn’t working. And I’m MANIC about cadence during TTs. Oh well, nothing I could do about it now.
Not being confident in how you’re going to perform is a scary prospect. When I got to the line, I saw the little Freifelders there, cute little guys. Dave was starting RIGHT behind me, and when I told him on a course like this I thought he’d catch me, I wasn’t kidding… Bigger guy, stronger than me, put 11s into me at Sandy Hook — I certainly thought I’d be seeing him out there.
I got on the line, looked at the TT clock. Blew two champion meteor powersnots into the ground. Looked at the TT clock again. Well, here I am, all the way down here. Might as well go hard.
And I jammed off the line and stayed aero and used that tailwind and rocketed along. Not having cadence may have helped: I didn’t look at my computer, not once. Went entirely by feel.
I was going fast, but when you have the fastest guy in the state starting 30 seconds behind you, you think he’s going to motor by at any second. I averaged over 30 mph on the way out. I saw the turnaround cone, and I roared up to it, hit the brakes at the last minute, veered ALL the way over to the other side of the road, almost brushing that cone. When the marshall at the turnaround yells at you to “SLOW DOWN!” I thinks that’s a good sign 🙂 .
I’m terrible at math. However, in TTs I’m like a mad scientist, doing the quadratic formula in my head when I see other riders. Coming out of the turnaround, sure enough there was Freifelder coming my way. I guessed it to be around 20 seconds. Very similar to Sandy Hook, when I was closing on him at that turnaround — and then he put massive time into me.
So it was time to go. I really dug deep coming back, and I was hurting like hell, but it was a sweet type of pain. You are searching for more speed, always trying to accelerate, and you don’t feel like you’re going to crack. TT Nirvana. I love these days (mostly because they’re rare!). I knew I had really ride to my potential with Dave locking me in his sights and chasing me down like a dog.
I passed about 5 guys on the return leg, in a great rhythm, saw that red tent far off in the distance and gave everything to get there as fast as I could. I had no clue about my cadence, but Mrs. Freifelder, who was at the finish, said I was spinning wildly compared to her husband’s slower big-gear cadence.
So I crossed the line. What’s one to do?
I clawed the brakes, wanted to see where Dave was. I turned slightly, and then — just like that — I went down, bike out from underneath me. It was like ice, and I went down like a bag of rocks, skidding across the pavement. I bounced up, my elbow and knee gashed up. That must’ve been surreal, a guy coming across the line at 32 mph and then immediately going down…
Well, in the end I got the win at 15:18, beat Freifelder by 5 seconds and Fritz by 4 seconds, off O’Donnell’s course record by 1 second. I was really proud to have gotten up in the middle of the night, rain everywhere, and coming down when part of me didn’t want to race.
The organization was pitch-perfect, it was awesome seeing Joe in action. There were plenty of bathrooms, you could warm-up on the road, the road was safe during the TT, the distances were clearly marked, you could see the finish tents from far off down the road on the return leg, and the times were up remarkably quick — the NJ TT Cup just kicks ass in so many ways. NJ is really rockin’ the TT scene in vicious professional fashion, and I’m very proud to be a part of it… I also yearn to be part of the TT Cup Committee next year, something I very much look forward to…
AND this win came exactly 365 days after my motorcycle accident in 2009 — I realized this on the drive home. Ironic. Perhaps that’s where the mojo came from: I WON a race exactly one year after I broke my knee — and I also crashed again exactly a year later, lol…
Knee is very sore, couldn’t ride MON. Rode easy for 45 minutes TUE, very light, and I can’t really gas it… Will ride the PowerCranks very light on WED, see how I feel for THURS. But High Point is definitely out. Which stinks. I was going to pull an O’Donnell and do the TT on my TT bike. I actually climb very well on that rig. High Point would be interesting because I’m lighter than I’ve ever been… Oh well, not the end of the world…
12 days ’til Somerset Circuit TT. Not really an “A” event, but I really want to do well there. Then it’s very simple: we move to Jersey Shore TT to Killington Stage Race (with 11-mile TT) to the NJ State TT Championships, and then it’s time to “chillax” a bit (to bite some of the kid’s vocabulary at the tennis club). Can’t wait to “chillax.” 🙂
Thanks for reading.