Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crankmaster's Airdrie Adrenalin 20k ITT

Well, the name pretty much describes it. The race of truth. No drafting, no wheel sucking, no recovery. Dang, those are my fortes!
I really wanted to do this race, despite the fact it was merely a club race, worth no upgrade points, no medals, no prize money. I needed to do this for a couple reasons.

First, it would be my first "pure" test after what I'm calling my breakthrough off-season.
Prairie Roubaix was a test as well, but I thrived there not because of my watts, but also my tactics.
This would expose me to myself.

Second, I needed to get in a serious ride on the Orbea before Velocity. I didn't know if I could hold the same watts as on the Trek. Also, would that automatically equate to higher speeds? Or was I still lacking something fundamental in my bit fit?

Thirdly, being the first ITT of the year, I reckoned a good number of guys would show up and would provide yet another baseline to see where I stood, and who was of good early season form in my category that I should watch for at Velocity.

So, Mike and I made the voyage up to Airdrie, and while I prepped my race machine for the test, Mike signed us in.
What a guy, he graciously put me down first, literally, the first rider to start the race. With himself 2nd, he would have a one-minute delay before trying to reel me in! Happy Birthday, he says... gee thanks!

Well, managed a decent warmup of about 20 minutes. Rode nearly half the race then turned around. Legs felt nimble enough. Still a bit awkward on the TT bike, felt some of the gears slipping a little and found myself sliding down on the saddle a bit. Will have to take a look at that soon.

11:00 - off I go! Stumbled a bit clipping in but got into the groove pretty quickly.
Kept an eye on my wattage. Thought about all the pacing articles I read recently. I was in between the double-peak and the negative split pacing method going into it, decided on the latter.
After the first 1k or so, I settled into what is probably 5W over my FTP. First 10k was into a bit of a headwind, and slightly uphill. Not a significant amount of either, but sufficient resistance to make it easy to push TOO much power. I fought the temptation and was thankful for it. I arrived at the turnaround feeling pretty good, and had maintained a very even pacing so far. Speeds were not great, ~36-37 kmph, but I was never really looking at that.
So nice to rely on power for once!

What I was surprised with, however, is that Mike had not yet passed me. In last year's Acme 40k ITT, he had about 4 minutes on me, so I expected him to pass well before the turnaround.

After the turn, I did see him entering just behind me, couldn't have been more than 20 seconds or so back. A cyclemeisters guy was right behind him! That guy started 3 minutes after me!

I knew the 2nd half would feature a slight downhill and tailwind, so if I could keep my watts up, I might be able to hold my own...

That was sometimes easier said than done. I definitely did NOT underpower my first half, for I felt my reserves depleting a little, and it took more effort to maintain the same watts as the first half. Speeds were up in the 40's now, and some quick math suggested I might be just over my stretch goal of 30 mins.
Still nobody was passing me.

5k to go, really wished at that point that I had be taking it easy so that I could hammer the finish.
Couldn't... Took everything to keep my power up.
Into the final turn to the finish, 500m to go. Sprint... ugh, barely added 50W... 50 meters to go and I feel totally drained. Can't muster any sprint... feels like I coasted across the line, although the garmin tells me I managed to raise it a little after all.

Finished with a time of 30:30 or so. Mike sailed in right after me, and Cyclemeister right after him.
Distance was 20.28 km. I always dreamed I would be the first racer to cross the finish line. Although this wasn't exactly what I meant, I'll take it!

Feel pretty good about it. My average speed was 39.8 kmph. That is definitely a PB for an ITT, although I've only ever done 40k's and Banff ITT, which is a hilly 21km.
Still, compared to last year's Banff ITT, I averaged Watts more. For that, I am quite pleased.

Results available here.

* I decided to keep posting my race summaries, including power, because I believe in full transparency. As a new racer starting out, I often found myself lacking enough information to "study" this odd, fringe sport.
Hopefully anyone who reads this can benefit from it.


  1. Good stuff man, sooo close to the 40kmph avg. You didn't mention your Watts comparison between your road bike and tt bike. I'm curious, maybe write an additional comparison post?

  2. Yea, definitely need more data points, but I feel like it was pretty close. My previous best 20 min effort on the road bike was 294W.
    That was on the indoor trainer, so that is another variable.

    I'd really need to actually do the same outdoor test to know for sure, but anecdotally, I feel able to reach the same wattages on either machine.

    Perhaps I'll analyze this in more detail at the end of the season.
    Maybe get in on one of the Crankmaster's Mercx-style ITTs.