I'm really glad I got to take part in this year's team time trial. We hit a few bumps in the road as we tried to assemble a team this year. We had one member who decided that he wanted to be on another team and another member that wasn't too sure if he was a good fit either. In the end we were able to bring Alcino in to replace Max and hang on to Patrick.
Last weekend 3 of our 4 guys hit the island for a serious practice session. We got 6 laps in at full race speed, which I'm really glad we did:
1. This year I haven't done much riding at all on my time trial bike. When you get laid out in your aero position you start using different muscles than you would on your regular road bike. My hamstrings were shot after last weekend's practice session, but as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. After last week's chance to build some strength, I was definitely better off during the race.
2. We got to learn how to work together as a team at top speed. We learned who needed to take longer pulls at the front and who needed to pull off more quickly in order to keep things smooth.
3. We all gained confidence and respect in each other. We knew that come race day we all were valuable members of the team, we all could finish the race together, and we all had an important role to play.
As for the race, we all came off the course feeling like we'd put everything we had into it. That's not to say that with more practice and preparation we couldn't have gone faster, but for a team that had one real practice and never had a chance to practice with all 4 members we got out of this everything we could have. Unlike a number of the other teams, we worked well together and kept our team together the whole way to the end.
There's not too much more to say about a time trial. You assemble at the start, your start time comes, you take off, get settled in, rotate guys through, and ride as hard as you can for as long as you can. I will say that our team did a great job of not being distracted by some of the other teams around us. We had teams that we had to pass. We had teams that seemed to want to race with us and would pass us, then we passed them, then they passed us, then we passed them for good. Through it all we stayed within our limits and kept the riding smooth.
The final results had us finishing 5th out of 10 teams in the 140+ combined age category with an average speed of 26.2 mph (57 minutes, 16 seconds to complete 25 miles).
If you'd like to check out some pictures of the event you can go here (our team is easy to spot, as Alcino is the one with the blue helmet):
Todd Willis' FITTT pictures