Last year's Tour of Washington County was defined more by wind than anything else. The windy road race thinned the herd down to the point where there were less than 20 guys who left that race with any shot at the overall, and realistically there were only a dozen or so. I was in the strange spot of being like 50 seconds down from first after time bonuses, and like 3 minutes ahead of the guy behind me.
So the wind threw a huge wrench into what we'd guessed last year would be a massively TT-weighted overall result. Despite that, I think that the event is going to be very favorable to guys who can roll baller in the TT. Traditionally I have not been that good at the TT. My technique sucks, and as I've said, I usually ride just as well as I feel and no better or worse, with the good news from that being that there should be some low hanging fruit for me to pluck.
At this year's ToWC, however the team strategy works out, it will be advantageous to have as many guys as possible rolling good TTs. That opens up our options so much in the crit. I'll likely be a third or fourth option at best there, but how much more valuable am I to my team if I enter the crit within a half minute of the podium? You have tons of time bonuses in the crit, so basically any move that gets made by a guy who's close is a bigger threat.
The first area of focus has been on what's happening from my hips down. You see the top guys rolling around in these ridiculous gears, like 55x13 or so. So how can it be that I'm going to get anywhere in 53x17? I'm not. You've got to learn to push the heavy metal, so I'm working on that. But it's not as easy as dumping the chain to the right and off you go. There are apparently some subtleties that I think I got a glimpse of last night. The first proof of such is that I can usually fit 20 minutes of riding in in a roundtrip from the stop sign at the Clara Barton on ramp just outside of the one lane heated bridge to Old Angler's (not going up the hill) and back. Last week, during my two efforts at this trip, I was clearly going to return to the stop sign before 20 minutes was up. You can go pretty slowly at pretty high power with the front brake at nearly full squeeze.
Last night, I had no shot of fitting 20 minutes into that section, not even close. The whole thing of getting over a gear and staying on top of it became a lot more clear. The power that I'm putting out is actually slightly better (or certainly at least more consistent) than ever, but the speed has taken a bigger jump than I would have expected even with that. A good next step will be to find a course that more accurately replicates the downhill start and uphill finish of the Washington County TT. Fortunately I know where that is.
The new frame is pretty darn comfortable, and it must not be any slower because last night was the first TT practice on the thing. Soon, it will be time to break out the clip-on clown bars and start getting a workable position dialed in. Those things are a pain to put on and take off.
So much for that, this weekend it's off to another AVCC joint at Fort Ritchie. Those guys absolutely rip it at race promotion, but if I could make one suggestion, given recent list-serve banter, I think that there's one race sponsorship opportunity that they're sadly missing.