This was a new course that the Boba’s concocted. Actually, a good one that has no stop signs and only one right turn. (Only if their directions to the start area were as good as the course!) We found the staging area at Springhill Road just off Bodega. Critical feedback aside, we always appreciate the efforts of our local rival club to put on their underground time trials and road race.
The event was two separate timed sections. Basically, westbound on Valley Ford Road to the area of intersection with Hwy 1 before town of Valley Ford and second leg, after ~ 10-minute pause and restart, returning with 2nd finish line 1K after a right turn onto Springhill.
Our crew consisted of Steve Reddie, Austin Hermosillo, Jens Vidkjer, Sean Daly and me. I have good history of riding with all these athletes, but no recent focus on time trialing. My pre-race meeting touched on a quick review of the basics. How to position yourself in cross winds, longer not way faster pulls for riders going well, pointing out hazards even when on the rivet, let’s communicate and basically let’s not crash!
We took a short warm up together and headed to the start line. Considering rider size, we determined order of our pace line and watched the other 3 teams launch at 1-minute intervals. 3,2,1 and we launched with Austin doing a beautiful job gradually ramping us up to race pace. This was a no-tt-gear effort with short pulls at the front. Unlike the Team Swift TT a few weeks earlier, I had a nice warm up with 2 ½ hrs on bike that morning with teammate Kurt Holt. We maintained a nice speed and each contributor on the team did a beautiful job at holding the pace when the wheel ahead of them pulled off. This is the greatest challenge of the TTT, going fast AND not surging. Jens did a nice job at letting us know ½ way and approximate distance to go.
If my lack of oxygen brain serves me correct, we passed our minute group just after ½ way. The Colavita team put up a fight, re-passing us shortly after they were overtaken. But we were not going to stand for that and quickly took care of business. The final 3 miles we kept closing in on our 2 and 3 minute group. As we entered less than a K to go, the 3-minute Boba team was within grasp. We had them beat, but with our competitive nature, I could feel the group wanted to earn the pass. We all threw down maximum watts. We thought a volunteer marked the finish line, so we put in a final push, but this person marked 40-50 yards to go so we found a bit more including an out of the saddle sprint as our third rider barely passed their 3rd rider before the line.
We all had about 10 minutes to catch our breath and cue up again for round 2. The legs were a bit fatigued from the effort, but the shorter return trip and a bit of a tail wind built my confidence to go even faster for the second leg.
We liked the ride order, so we stuck with it. This time there were only 2 teams to act as our “carrot”. Austin again with a sweet ramp up to super sonic. With a tail wind I knew there would be less draft and less recovery while sitting in. I called for bit shorter pulls on the flats to keep our power high. We had one sustained hill that the front rider was absolutely drilling it. Oh man, I was forcing air into the carburetor, focusing on big, circular pedal strokes, and just staring at the rear wheel ahead of me trying to ignore the on-board computer sending signals of “engine exceeding maximum stainable power, abort”. Alas, the summit and a 20 second descent to reset.
We had passed our 1-minute group and after a careful, gravel rich turn onto Springfield, we had our 2-minute group in our crosshairs. We lit the fuse! As if setting up for a world championship sprint, I got as small as possible and held on. We emptied the tanks in that last ½ mile and while it might not have been as pretty as possible, again, our 3rd rider came across the line first.
I hope my summary conveys the incredible effort each Red Peloton put out, the fun we had pushing ourselves to the max and the sense of accomplishment felt in the performance and result. Congrats to my comrades that day Austin, Steve, Jens, and Sean. It was truly the contribution made by each rider that allowed us to take the top step of the podium. If you have not participated in a time trial or TTT, keep an eye out for the next one. It is a unique experience that I would urge you to have a go at.
Red Peloton, Race Team Captain