With a day of rest we set out on Saturday to begin the last few days of camp. Saturday’s ride was more tactical than physical training as we worked on responding to race situations.
By Sunday I had hit my flateau, that point where I was not getting any slower, just maintaining the same level of tired legs. After riding around and nearly getting run over by a pickup truck and a dozen speeding motorcycles we did another handicap race. This one was flat, though, and we started separately based on our TT times from the first day. With the Women’s Tandem MIA I started 3rd from last with Sam 20 seconds behind me, the tandem 2 minutes back, and Greta and Craig 1:00 and 1:05 ahead of me. My powertap was not reading correctly so I put it in my pocket and rode by feel. I knew that Sam, at 20 seconds, would catch me, so I decided to ride tempo ’till he did. When Sam made contact we went into Team Time Trial mode and were chasing down the next group, but the tandem came by and we latched on. We thought about pulling, but it would have been pointless. The tandem was on rails. We rode through the other groups and as we came into the last 2 miles we hit a hill that slowed the tandem down enough that Sam and I were able to take a pull. I turned myself inside-out for about a minute and came off to see Sam, the tandem, and Greta. Sam took a flyer inside the last kilometer and I had no legs to follow it so I stuck on the tandem. Coming into the final hill I jumped past the last few riders on the road and chased Sam, but he had too big a gap and took the sprint for 2nd while I rolled in 3rd.
The last day is the “queen stage” of these camps with a Hill Climb TT that takes the bikes in and near my disability category 30-35 minutes. I had ridden every ride full gas so I didn’t know how the legs would go, but I had reviewed the power file from our first handicap race that ended up this same climb and planned my pacing strategy. My coach told me the team record was a low 31 set by Ron Williams, so I wanted to beat that, but I really wanted to break 30. I started out using a mix of feel and the powertap to pace myself with every intention of not going out too hard (bad habit). I started as the last rider, but it took me nearly 10 minutes to catch my 30 second man. I had to resist the urge to jump after Sam to save my legs for the steep stuff, but it payed off. As I rode up I was very steady but just never felt great which is ok on day 6 of a hard camp. I rolled over the line and Craig (coach) told me I was at 30:12; that’s good, but not sub-30. I then realized he did some bad math and I actually went 29:42. I was so stoked to be able to ride like that, and on tired legs! Later in the day we found out that the 31 minute record was 2nd fastest to a 29:56 set way back in 2004 by Ron, but by 90 seconds or 14 seconds I was happy to break it.
That wraps up camp and our early season race-prep. The next stop is Colorado for some recovery and then to Spain. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t excited.