Cape May was a painful success. I was going down there to snare a top-3, and that is what I did. Damn, 4 seconds off second place!!! With my current condition, I knew it would be a tall order getting a top time, but I was confident that if I dug deep I would be able to get a respectable place. I am built for the time trials, so if I’m firing at 80% I can still do okay. It’s the same if I’m 100% going against a tired sprinter in a two-up sprint — I’ll still probably lose to him!!!
As a Scandinavian, I love the cold weather. I ride a lot at night and have no problems with the 30s. In the summer, this can really hurt me, as I cannot really acclimate to the heat and usually melt on the really hot days (no matter what I do).
But Cape May was COLD. 31 at the line? Felt ARCTIC!!! I was warming up on the roads, hoping to get better acclimated to the cold and wind rather than hitting the trainer, and I was FREEEEEZING. I had a thick long-sleeve baselayer on, armwarmers over the skinsuit, plus a heavy windproof vest. Heavy skullcap. Heavy booties. Two pairs of wool liner gloves. And I was still FREEEEEEZING. I had to stop my warm-up and go into the car to put on another base layer – a POOFY ABERCROMBIE & FITCH long sleeve thermal lol!!! I didn’t care. I felt like Michelin Man
So out I go again, about 30 minutes from launch time, and I’m still cold. My fingers are FROZEN. Just all around bad. So I go back to the parking lot and find good ole Sandy Chapman, with whom I had dinner the previous night. I asked him for a pair of gloves, and he gave me a pair. A huge pair of windproof LOBSTER MITTS lol! But, I’d rather be warm, for sure. I said WTF and off I went.
My logic was this: go out really, really hard and hope to minimize my losses. I knew I could go out at threshold and still fall apart, so I thought I could go out harder on the way out, get some time back, and just suffer on the way back. Well, O’Donnell took off in front of me, and at the line I debated on stripping off the arm warmers. Heck, I was wearing the lobster hands — keep ’em on and be toasty!
So off I went, really hard, keeping Levi O’Donnell within range, but yup my heavy anaerobic start caught up to me — quickly!!!
I should also note that shifting with these lobster things wasn’t as easy as when I was noodling during the warm-up. WHEN YOU’RE ALL SNOTTY AND HURTING DURING THE HEART OF A TT, A MAN SHIFTS DIFFERENTLY!!!!!! 🙁 I WANT MY FINGERS BACK!!!! I love 104-108 rpms for TTs, but for Cape May I AVERAGED 95 rpms. Maybe it’s because I’m heavier, pushing a bigger gear. Maybe it’s because I was COLD!!! Whatever it was, the cadence was really low… Maybe it was because I couldn’t shift well, lol!!!
At the turnaround, O’Donnell was gone. He has a wicked sick ridiculously stealth position. Never say never — but #1 I will never be very good at these bone-flat TTs and #2 I will never be as fast as O’Donnell on these conditions. 🙁 If he were a fighter, he’d never get hit!!! Slippery, that Will. He has the uber Leipheimer thing going on. Last year I tried this position out, but I am longer, lankier, more ectomorphic, and it just doesn’t work for me. For 8 minutes, I can go faster, but I just fall apart over longer distances, so I went back to the tried and true, opting to be more upright and powerful. Seeing O’Donnell hold that position and go fast is commendable. O’Donnell is more of a sparkplug mesomorph, and with shorter forearms it seems easier for him to get into this crouch… I need shorter forearms!!!
Anyway, I suffered coming back, just chugging along. At the 1k to go sign, I was already maxed out, just hoping to minimize losses. Some days you got it, some days you don’t — WHERE ARE THE DARN HILLS, PEOPLE?!?!?! All you can do is give what you can and be happy. In the end, I took 3rd. My goal was accomplished. I’ve been doing a ton of stuff at 300-330w, steady sub and LT work, and I knew at 162 pounds, in order to win I’d have to throw down 360-370w. I’m guessing I put out around 340w, maybe a little more. So I’m happy with that.
Can’t be too greedy in March.
O’Donnell had a crushing win in the P123. Linenberg won the 35+, Goldman hot on his heels. Both guys are very fast, work very hard. Linenberg threw down some amazing times last year, and I foresee Goldman doing well both on the road and in the TT discipline this year. With Coach Pete, I’m sure Goldman will get a true peak, something nasty and mean, at Nats later this year. As I’ve said before, you can’t let these events mess with your head too much. If you have a goal, you don’t want to stray too much. Then. You. Get. Nowhere.
If you always try to be violent, the axe will always be blunt and the only one who gets hurt is YOU…
All the guys I lost to have been to the wind tunnel. Maybe I should look to get down there sometime, although it kinda takes the fun away. I like trying things out on my own, trying to understand what is fast, seeing what works, seeing what doesn’t. Without the aid of the tunnel, I just know I have to be super diligent when the time arrives, getting position, training, rest, diet, mindset 100% right. I have to be perfect with all aspects of training in order to excel.
And part of me gets off on this, makes the goal of succeeding even harder. If it were easy, I would quit and start boxing or something!
I had predicted O’Donnell would put 45-60s into me. Okay, he put a little more time into me, but I think if I left those monster lobster mitts at the curb, I would’ve gotten maybe 5s back and my prediction would’ve been dead on! My Crystal Ball is intact… I hope to be breathing hot fire down Levi’s back at High Point, the Somerset TT, then see where we fall in June. I can’t control how fast O’Donnell is going to be, how much faster he’s going to be and such…
But I can say that I can control my own training, my own form, my diet, my outlook, my desire to perform at a high level, and I look forward to improving and putting out my best and duelling with this human rocketship (and other rocketships!) at the future TT events.
Oh, and want to give a shout-out to Nick Bruno, one of my Elite Endurance clients. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS, BRUNO! He took 3rd at Coxsackie after getting jumped by a Target Training duo, then came back Sunday to WIN the Prospect Park P123! A big move went, then Nick bridged solo, then attacked the group, getting away with another rider with 4 to go. Nick then won the sprint.
We have big plans for this kid, so it’s reassuring to be getting these results now. I’m very, very proud of how Nick performs. He is the quintessential client: trains very seriously, recovers correctly, always asking questions in pursuit of excellence, eats like a monk, does all the little things diligently, and he’s a ferocious student of the sport, a careful listener… Everything he does adds up to that extra 1-2%, and it’s this extra push which gets him onto the podium. His rise through the ranks has been incredible, and it’s only March.
Thanks for reading.