IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Harvard 30K TT: Waiting for a Tailwind

Lisa and I arrived in Harvard well before our start. After much confusion, we were able to move our start times up by about 15 minutes. Fortunately, the sun was shining and the wind seemed pretty calm. It was a little cooler out than I expected, but I didn't bring long pants, so I was chilled before I even started my warm up.

It seemed to take forever for me to gather my things, put on the necessary clothes and get my bike ready to go for a warm up. In that time, I saw several other people I knew, so I chatted a bit with them and the first time I looked at my watch, I realized we only had about 12 minutes before our start. Quickly, we got on the bikes and headed out for a short warm up.

We headed toward the start line and as soon as we turned west, the wind hit us. Now where did that come from? We were standing around outside for the last 30 minutes and it certainly didn't seem windy! It seemed like it was a bit of a crosswind from the southwest. I knew the course was a lollipop course and that it was a bit longer than a 30K (more like a 32K).

I didn't feel like I had much of a warm up, but it was time to get in line for the start. Some guy rolled up and had missed his start so he kept trying to "sneak in" between riders. This confused the volunteer working there and the official and this late rider didn't seem to care. He wouldn't get out of Lisa's way when the official was trying to tell her she was leaving in 30 seconds. Thankfully, Lisa spoke up and the official scooted this guy out before she was to go he was standing in front of me, but the volunteer kept telling him to move back.

Finally - I get my countdown, I get out of the saddle and try to get a good pace going quickly. The first section of the course was south (I think) and seemed to be going smoothly. I haven't spent much time on my bike lately, so I had no idea what to expect for this ride. In fact, I wasn't on my bike the entire week between the half ironman and this race, so I just did the best I could.

The road curved and it felt like we were going straight into a headwind. It curved again and I thought the headwind would subside...nope. My nose started running. I wasn't wearing a heartrate monitor, but I was trying to keep my breathing controlled. Though the roads were pretty flat, I found myself struggling to get into a comfortable rhythym. I was struggling against the wind and tried to stay aero the entire ride. I kept sliding off the seat forward and would have to stop pedaling to get myself back centered (or even pushed toward the back) of the saddle.

I saw the riders who started earlier coming back. They all looked like they were just churning away in their biggest gear possible. I thought to myself "cool, we'll have a sweet tailwind on the way back!" I continued to fight the wind and my nose continued to run. I've never been a "farm blower" type of chick and I just felt like there was a river running down my face, coming from my nose! It was quite disgusting and made it a little difficult to breathe.

I was passed a few times - by men, but then again, most of the riders today were men. They don't say anything when they go by, like "nice job" or "hang in there." No, cyclists just whiz by you and really crank up the power just to show you how much faster they are than you.

Finally, I reach the point where we start to turn around...I keep waiting for the tailwind. It wasn't there. Ironically, the wind felt just as strong going back as it did on the way out. There was one small section where I felt a tailwind and my mph was at the highpoint of the day - 24 mph - but it didn't last nearly long enough to be fun. I was wondering if my nose was ever going to run out of snot as I wiped it away with the back of my glove.

Finally, I saw the finish and pushed as best I could. Once again, the mph really went up, and I felt like I still "had some left." So I pushed to the limit until I flew across the finish line. I was thankful that someone told me the race was over a 30K or I would have turned on the heat too early. But maybe that wouldn't have been such a bad thing as once I was finished, I really didn't feel exhausted. I was very tired of riding in the wind, but wasn't physically tired.

I'm thinking 2007 is going to be known as "the year of the wind!"


Anonymous said...

i saw a flag showing that i would get a tailwind on the way back and it never was weird.
and for the record i passed 3 woman
and said a cheerfull hello and nothing was said when being passed

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention that you also won a medal in this time trial! Great job! (I had the same nose problem!!!)


John from Grand Haven, MI said...

snot rockets are good for the soul.