State TT Champ!!! (Sort Of)

2018 SCNCA State TT Championships
June 2, 2018 – Lake Los Angeles, CA
Cat 4 – 1st – 52:27
252 watts – 26.4 MPH

I went into this race with one goal…win the Cat 4 State TT Championship. I knew I would be right up there with the top guys (depending on who showed up) based on my recent results. Having done this race before, I had my pre-race mechanics down.

On Friday, I went up early to pre-ride the course to check out road conditions and re-familiarize myself with the turns and terrain. I started in the early afternoon, so it was of course hot and windy. To my surprise, the wind was more NE vs W like it normally is. This threw me a bit, since that would mean starting and finishing into a headwind (uphill). I was happy I did ride in the extreme heat of the day, since it also helped prep me for the dryness.

Yep, it’s pretty hot and dry out here…
Always fun to see that temp on your Garmin…NOT!

There was nothing too exciting about pre-race prep. As usual, the lines for registration and the port-a-potties were long, so I didn’t get much of a warm-up in–but it was enough. I was very happy to have an early start time, since I would get out on the course before it got to hot and windy.

My start went as planned, even though it was uphill into a slight headwind. I was around my power target of 280 watts. Unfortunately, the conditions got to me pretty quick. After the first turn, I hit the roughest pave. I exerted a lot of energy just controlling the bike. I was also feeling the dry, wind. My power dropped quite a bit for the next 11 miles and I just got into cruise mode, trying to remain as aero as possible. I also took a few drinks of water.

Finishing uphill into the headwind was a mental battle. I just wasn’t feeling it physically, so I just put myself into race mode and went off experience. I was pretty exhausted at the finish and was just happy with my effort. Briefly chatting the the higher category guys who had started before me, I learned they had struggled as well.

We had to wait for the results until the very end. I knew I would have a decent placing. My speed wasn’t bad considered the conditions. From talking with other riders, I learned they were slower than normal as well. Turns out, I won Cat 4 and beat several guys in other categories who usually beat me.

First place in Cat 4!

The real surprise was getting on the podium and finding out that Cat 4 was not an official championship category this year. WTF!!?? So, no jersey or medal. Apparently, the SCNCA board had decided this last year–who knows why. Oh, well, I still consider myself Cat 4 state champ. In all of my years racing, I had never seen Cat 4 NOT a championship category.

The other drama around the state championships was a management shake-up with the previous organizer. Thankfully, a new one stepped up and pulled off the event this year. It went without a hitch (from my perspective), and I was happy they jumped in to help out.

Now, to race Cat 3 or Masters next year…😉

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