Smmmmmmmokin’ Hot State TT

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Well, that hurt.

I hate the State TT. So long. So uneventful. So flat. So boring. Blick. Pavement pavement pavement pavement pavement pavement. Dead squirrel. Pavement pavement pavement pavement pavement. Turnaround. Pavement pavement pavement…

But I wanted to do well here. In previous years, I didn’t do the State TT, had off days, was already burnt, or got sick. I don’t TT with the meter, making States even more of an Achilles Heel for me… However, this year I wanted to see what I could do.

Well, I took 4th overall with a time of 53:30, not bad not great. Overall, I’m happy.

The GOOD: I was able to keep the cadence where I wanted it. In previous years, average cadence was 108 rpms, 104 rpms, etc…

I usually launch too hard. At States this year, I made a hefty effort to keep holding back, keep holding back… This year was especially hard to start slower because I had Rocket Roger Aspholm on my tail as my 30-second man (not to mention Human Missile Will O’Donnell behind HIM!).

I was able to keep the cadence 96-99 all the way out, just powering steadily and ensuring to hold back just that smidge… So far so good!!! The State TT is a lot longer than people realize — A LOT LONGER!… Going out, I averaged just about 30 mph, 98 rpms…

The BAD: The heat. Ick. During the warm-up, I was spinning 80w on the trainer, dripping with sweat. We Scandinavians love the cold, eh! And it’s very hard to acclimate to 82 degrees when it’s 64, 62 all week… At the Somerset County TT, I was shivering as I rolled around, and 2 minutes into the effort I was very comfy. Give To Me The Cold… I yearned for those conditions. I prayed for sudden thunderstorms as I rolled to the line…

Not to happen. Also, I had a bigger-than-planned plate of pasta the night before and in the morn, I dunno if it was nerves or anything but I just felt this heavy pud in my gut, this lead brick, undigested. I sat down for breakfast in the morn and just couldn’t eat.

I checked the forecast on four different weather sites. 78-83 were the varying highs. When I got up at 5:15, it was already 68 degrees. Frowning at 5 in da morn!!! So on the drive down, I made sure to drink two bottles — as mentioned, the State TT is longer than people realize…

But with the heat, my spaghetti gut, and now the morning’s water (which I needed), I felt flat on the trainer.

I didn’t feel good on the bike. But not FEELING well and not RIDING well are two totally different things. On the way out, I was going fast — didn’t have the zing in my legs but I was happy… At the turnaround, I saw O’Donnell and Roger within reach, and as I got going again I ended up going harder than planned… Not the best thing to do…

Well, I paid for the long acceleration. O’Donnell caught me on the backstretch, not able to power away from me. I was able to ride on his side for a good 3-4 minutes, my cadence beginning to drop as I labored to go faster, up the rollers, but he maintained a solid speed over the top and I cracked. I mean full on crack all over the road, I want to get off the bike, I don’t feel well, if there’s a bucket I’m pukin’l!!!

In the file, it’s clear as day. First 44:00, 29.1 mph, 98 rpms. The final 9:00, 26.0 mph, 93 rpms. Meltdown in the final stretch!!! During this eternity, I tried everything, telling myself to just gut it out, you won’t die, it’s just pain, DIG DEEPER, frickin’ suck it up!!! I had this wide saddle sore that also conventiently made its presence known as I began to fall apart — probably because I started leaning into the saddle harder, unable to weight my body on the bars… Sharp, shrieking pain — couldn’t move forward or back and I was absolutely nauseous!

Hey-o — THE IMPACT OF THE STATE TT HAD FINALLY ARRIVETH!!!!

I have never, ever suffered like that on a bike before. I could not see the finish line anywhere in site. Man, coming back seems a lot longer than going out, lol! Who’s playing tricks on me? Someone stop the TT!!! I just did not, for one more second, want to be on that saddle. Ken, just hold steady and grimace to the line. The grimace was there, for sure, but I sputtered across the line at 25 mph.

I’m not complaining. To me, breaking the body down is why I love cycling. What a great sport. What do you learn about yourself in these anaerobic states? How much can you endure? How long can you push? What will you find? Well, I was very happy with my performance today, and now I yearn to have a “breakdown” again and see how much harder I can fight (although I kinda take that back because as a disciplined TTist I know my long post-turnaround acceleration was only going to hurt me in the end… so I don’t yearn that again, looking to avoid it by becoming more disciplined).

There is nothing stopping you from going fast — you can dig as deep as you want. My wrestling coach used to always tell me, “The mind tires before the body.”

My teammate Mike Rosenhaus took 2nd with a 52:40 (?) and Westwood Velo’s monster all-arounder Dan Hoffman did a 53:15. Sans meltdown, I dig deeper, I could’ve had second…

Coulda shoulda woulda. Put up or shut up. An old chessmater once told me, “Excuses are like a$$holes — everyone’s got one but no wants to hear that $h*t.” We do what we can do. In the end, you are that number on the board. This is why TTs are by far my favorite part of this sport — BY FAR.

And Will O’Donnell had an amazing ride, 51:30 (?), just sicko fast. As mentioned, if you want to know how fast this human missile is during a TT, just start in front of him. And don’t blink.

My goal was to do a 52:00. The course was extended, over 40k. With colder conditions, minus the egg crack, and perhaps it’s possible. Perhaps. Speculating and reaching for the clouds will have me back next year… It is what it is. I’m happy. I showed up and gave it my all — feeling good or not feeling good, I rode hard and emptied the tank, leaving everything out there and not even cruising in on fumes…

Congrats to Steven Goldman for winning the 35+ from a very, very competitive field. His company, Trade Manage Capital, also gave a hefty donation to the ALS foundation Rusty Potts fundraiser. “Rusty” was a former top cyclist from south Jersey who now suffers from ALS.

In a selfish way, I had immense satisfaction for breaking 55:00 on a hard day and helping contribute more money to this positive cause… In the end, this is far, far more important than taking home the silver or bronze…

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Sunday, June 1st, 2008 | | |