On Sunday I decided to check out the route of the upcoming Whiting Ranch Time Trial. I'm learning (the easy way, thankfully) that being familiar with the course is a huge asset on race day. I know from years ago that my second run around a loop is significantly faster than the first.
Dreaded Hill (seriously, that's its official name on the map and everything) wasn't too dreadful. (Har.) I managed to settle into a sustainable climbing pace with my heart rate hovering around 168 bpm, and my legs only mostly burning. This little beast starts out with a steep kicker, so the lesson is not to go out too hot on this one: set a steady tempo and let my heart rate rise to meet it.
The other lesson: the second climb, Santiago Ranch Rd., isn't terrible, but it's loose. If my legs are spent, I'm going to have a tough time with it. So I have to remember that Dreaded Hill isn't the whole battle, and that it's on the second climb of the day that I can really push.
Last year's results show that all the Sport Men 40-49 podium spots were under 22:40. I'm sure I won't be anywhere near that. My time for the Strava segment was 36:28. I'll do way better than that once I avoid the wrong turns, step up my pacing, and lose the fatigue from Saturday's training ride, but I'm not sure I'll manage to do 11½ minutes better. I'll be satisfied if I get down around 30:00. I'll be really happy if I get under 28:00. And I'll be stunned if I get under 25:00.
My goals for this race are simply to have fun, ride smooth and speedy, and finish mid-pack. We'll see how that goes. The course is pretty great. Strong climbing and super-fun singletrack downhill. Really looking forward to this.