Grey County Time Trial
Grey County Time Trial Race Report
This past Friday was the Grey County Time Trial, the only North American qualifying event for the UCI Gran Fondo World Series, Ontario Cup #5, and my first goal event of the season. And since it was my first goal event of the season, I was hoping to put in a good effort and make the podium in Elite 4. All my training so far this season had been leading up to this event and I was feeling pretty good about my chances.
Thornbury played host to this years Grey County Time Trial and the course featured a significant amount of climbing with a particularly nasty long drag of a climb up Grey County Road 40. After pre-riding the course, I started feeling a little less confident due to my poor relationship with gravity. But with every climb, you are rewarded with a downhill, and descent into the finish offered a great opportunity to hit some real high speeds.
My equipment for the day consisted of mostly borrowed gear. I used the S32 time trial bike that Felt has been loaning me for the budget time trial set up test and I also borrowed a set of deep rimmed wheels from a co-worker. We put in some work to find the best aerodynamic position and I wore my skinsuit and Giro Air Attack helmet for further savings.
With everything ready, race day rolled around and it was a hot one. In Barrie, it felt like almost 40 degrees. Thankfully it was a bit cooler in Thornbury along Georgian Bay but the temperature was still going to add to the discomfort of the race of truth. The course was 33 kilometers long, and with significant climbing, it was going to be a long, hard effort.
Nerves set in as it neared my start time. I had been working towards this event all season so far. After some disappointing results and realizations earlier this season, I was hoping for something positive in the event that I always thought was my strength. For some crazy reason, I enjoy time trialing and I have gotten some good results in the past including third at least years provincial championships in the Sportif category.
After a couple deep breaths to calm the nerves, the starter counted down to zero and I rolled off down the starting ramp. I got up to speed and quickly got down into the aero extensions and prepared myself for what laid ahead.
I could go into every detail of what happened on course, but when its just you against the clock their isn’t much to describe. It was hot and hard. Let’s just say it wasn’t long until I was passed by my 2 minute man, and that my the top of the climb, riders had made up close to 10 minutes on me. Part of the issue was that start times were not divided by category but rather by age group so I was starting just ahead of Elite 1s and 2s. Also carrying a bunch of extra pounds up that climb didn’t help.
The climb was a long drag with a couple steps in it that kicked up a bit. To give some idea of how hard it was, my max heart rate for the event was 192 bpm. I was pushing so hard up that climb so as to not lose to much time, I almost over did it and needed to ease off a bit to bring my heart rate back down.
So after being passed by everyone on the climb, I got back into the grove of things as the road flattened out. I picked up the pace again and my legs started coming back to me as I headed north on the course. Despite feeling like I was flying, I was still loosing time. And as I hit the last little climb before the final descent I was wondering if I was going to get in under an hour.
As I spun out the 53/11 and bombed down the hill with my speed peaking out at 76.8 km/h, I was racing against the clock. It was going to be close to the 1 hour mark so I tried to give it all I had. I guess I had paced things well cause in the final 2 kilometers I had nothing left to give. Going into the final corner, I realized it hadn’t been enough but I still sprinted for the line crossing in 1:00:34.
I was completely knackered. I had given it my all on the course and crossed the line with nothing left. One of the best parts about time trials is that when you finish, you get to see all the wonderful things that now cover your face that you didn’t notice one course because your legs were screaming too loudly. To paint a mental picture, I looked like Tony Martin with strands of snot and drool hanging off my face.
I was slightly disappointed by not going under the hour mark but that disappointment turned to joy when I found out my time was still good enough for third place in the Elite 4 category! Goal achieved!
The Grey County Time Trial was a tough event and I gave it my all. I did my best and as a result I ended up on the podium. With the first half of my road season out of the way, its time to focus on new goals for the second half.