A win at time trial at nationals has been on my list for a while now. After two years of less than ideal circumstances- a broken collarbone in 2011 and international travel the day before racing in 2012- 2013 was shaping up to be a year for a good result. With positive results in international races earlier in the season, I went into nationals with confidence.
The course in Madison was more technically challenging than we saw in Augusta and Bend. Both of those previous courses were straight out and back courses with little terrain variation. While Madison’s course was simple from a driving perspective, it was technical from a gearing standpoint with each section of the course offering a different challenge.
One of my goals for the day was to build into the ride. It’s a habit I’m working on fixing but I have the tendency to start way too hot and fade (more like blow up) well before the finish line.
To start, riders left the start tent, made a quick right and headed out the longest single section of the course. With a bit of a headwind but slight downhill, it was a fast section to get things started. From there, we turned around the head of the lollipop shaped course and got into the rollers. They were punchy and required an effort out of the saddle. Mixed into this part were a few quick S bends and chicanes that left me spun out of gear and tucked up trying to be as small and aero as possible. We made the turn back onto the stick of the lollipop and headed home. It was a slight uphill for the return with a few easy rollers and a long line of sight. At around the 3k to go point, there was a speed sensor to tell cars- or riders- they were exceeding the 25mph speed limit heading into town.
After crossing the finish line, I knew the win was wrapped up. On the whole it was a good effort- there are still pacing aspects that could’ve been better and some lines that could’ve been taking more aggressively. It was a satisfying race after it was over and those can be hard to come by at times. That said, there is still a lot more to be had.
Madison’s time trial was the para-cycling team’s selection event for this year’s World Championships in Quebec, Canada in August. 26 athletes were selected to represent the US at the year’s pinnacle of racing. It’s safe to say this is the strongest- and largest- team we’ve had in years with a good mix of rookies and veteran riders filling the roster. It’s always an honor to make that selection list.
Thank you to Kaitie Antonneau for giving the skinny on the course conditions after ripping earlier in the day; to Exergy TWENTY16 and U.S. Paralympics for the support; Felt, Zipp, Sram, Oakley, Speedplay, Fi’zi:k, SRM and Catlike for the top of the line equipment; and of course friends, family, and everyone of you for the support over the course of this season- I couldn’t do it alone.