Archive for September, 2011

Event: Santa Cruz Triathlon Relay (bike leg)

Date: 09.25.2011

Teammates: Team Not Related Johnsons (Camille Johnson,/swim, Jay Johnson,/run)

Time: 58:48

Distance: 24.5 mi

Weather: Sunny, overcast/ low 6os

Power: 222w/549 (Avg/Max)

HR: 178/183 (Avg/Max)

Avg speed: 25.0 mph

Gearing: 50-34, 11-23

Place: 1st Coed Relay/3rd All Relays 2:10 (Results:

First offóno I have not been body-snatched and replaced with a hill-avoiding flatlander diesel engine. Its still me! But last week before Folsom the owner of my borrowed Cervelo P3C TT bike invited my wife Cami and I to do a relay with him at the Santa Cruz Triathlon. I figured if the guy who owns the bike invites me to ride it in a relay and heíll run, how can I say no? And truth be told, I sort of enjoyed the race against the clock at Folsom even though I was out-classed by my M123 competitors by a significant margin. But that was a short 11 mile TTóand this one was 25 miles. I was ready to see what I could do.

The Santa Cruz Triathlon course starts downtown, winds its way through the western edge of Santa Cruz by Long Marine Labs, then heads out on Highway 1 to Davenport, does a quick turn around and comes back. The course has a lot of little rollers, none super steep but definitely not flat, and the wind usually blows towards the North, making the return leg to town hard. I have many memories of hammering out with the UCSC club on Highway 1 only to turn around and limp home because of the wind.

My wife Cami rocked the swim and was only preceded by a few other relay swimmers, so I knew we were in good position. I honestly was worried I was going to give up quite a bit of time, as the dudes who were lined up in the relay gates looked more like Ross Tinline and Mark Slavonia than yours truly, and I knew that could be a problem for me! I strapped on the timing chip and proceeded to run about 1k uphill to where we were actually allowed to start pedaling our freaking bikes. It was silly but they didnít want people to mount before a hill, derail their chains, etc. Luckily all that cross practice remounting with Clark a few weeks back translated to the TT bike, so I think I was the only guy with both feet off the ground doing the flying mount onto the TT bike. Adrenaline makes you do silly things sometimes.

My goal for the TT was to break it into 4 segments, and hold a nice steady tempo and ramp it up in the 3rd and 4th legs. But most importantly, I wanted to keep my starting wattage under control so I might just finish this thing without exploding. What I didnít count on was the fact that relays started last, so I spent the entire thing passing bike after bike after bike and making sure I didnít get taken out by someone randomly sitting up or swerving or by the traffic whizzing by on Hwy 1. The upside was I felt really fast passing all these people, and was forced to keep my eyes on the road ahead which helps with that aero helmet. But at some point I recognized that the dude wearing high tops riding a mountain bike might not really be in the same class as I was. But I took solace anyway ūüėČ

The ride is pretty boring, the wind wasnít too strong, but at some point I was going about 35mph downhill and getting blown about which brought on some pucker factor, but I figured I couldnít let my team down and forcibly relaxed my arms and shoulders and stayed in the TT position. Corners and turn arounds were the most scary as I was flying through them and felt like I was playing Frogger or something as I had to swerve around the other riders. But in my head, I was loving the challenge and it motivated me to go harder.

Playlist for the first 3 segments: Soul Asylum ďRunaway TrainĒ

Runaway train never going back Wrong way on a one way track ?Seems like I should be getting somewhere Somehow I’m neither here no thereLittle out of touch, little insane Just easier than dealing with the pain

Not the most motivational of tunes, but its what was sticking and I went with it. Then on the last segment, the Doors blasted their way in as I started to ďBreak on ThroughĒ for the last 5 miles. The mind is a funny thing when its blocking out the screaming pain in your legs. As I was approaching Santa Cruz, I ramped up to 250 watts, and immediately my pedal stroke felt forced and unsmooth. I kept imagining smooth circles and powered on.

The last part of the course winds through town and goes to a little turn around to extend the distance, and this was a major slow down as I had to navigate turns and other riders that were riding 2 and 3 wide on both sides of the single lane road. Thoughts of T boning or head-ons while in the bars flickered through my brain, but I told them to HTFU and go faster.

The final straight goes right above the boardwalk and back down the hill. I imagined I was in the TDF and carving the curves but instead of motoring across a finish line, you have to come to a stop, dismount and run down the same damn hill. I flew in, did a cross step through (hard to do on the TT bike with the damn bars in the way) and caused the volunteers to have a heart attack that I was going to crash. But no such luck. I cruised into the transition zone and apparently passed the other teams out on the course, because I was the first relay bike in. After dismounting I underestimated the weakness of my adductors and suddenly found myself squatting to take of my shoes and falling over because I couldnít stand back up. It was quite graceless and undignified, but such is life.

True confession: I really enjoyed doing the TT. Its pure and painful, but also brings out the best in me. I can hardly walk or sit from the nerve pain, but I will be doing more TTs in the future.

Thanks for reading!

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