Last year, one of my greatest learning experiences was racing the Black Dog Time Trials. Not only did I learn how to ride my bike faster, but how to shove my entire body into the pain locker and come out smilin'. And now, to my pleasure, Black Dog is back and kickin'.
Round one was perfect - beautiful weather, a parking lot of 120 of our closest friends, and some sweet bikes. This was my first race on El Gato Negro, my new Javelin Amarone done up in all black with HED. aero bars and Jet 60's. New to the TT bike scene, I tried to keep my cool before the race by chillin to my tunes on the trainer.
I was a little worried about racing, since our training day made my arm go numb again, but nothing could stop me from trying. I iced like crazy, kitted up, and rolled quietly to the line as my number neared. Once they released me from the start, my bike and I cozied up for the ride. Completely blowing me away, El Gato was the most comfortable thing I could have imagined. That, and I was almost a breeze riding at a higher speed than I did all last year.
Quiet....calm.....relaxed, I made my way past the factory. As the turn-around neared, I looked at my time for the first time.....I was on pace for a new PR! I kept my wits about me and tried to remember how to make that turn at speed (I really hope next time will go better, cuz I completely failed at the turn - oops). Sitting back into my aero bars, my breathing was relaxed as I tried desperately to stifle the excitement growing in my chest.
It was such a shock to me that my heart didn't even hit the next octave until I passed by the factory on the way back. My breathing finally caught up with me, but yet was still controllable. As I neared the shicane before the finish, I kicked it into a lower gear and cranked up another MPH or two more. I didn't have a sprint left for the finish, but I was able to dig deep all the way across the line. Seeing Jay right after the finish, I was ecstatic about a possible PR, talking wildly about each minute I'd spent on the course. Little did I know that the biggest surprise was yet to come....
Once the results were finally posted, I made my way across the parking lot somewhat reluctantly. My eyes near bugged out of my head when I saw a 6th place finish in a time of 18:17, 26 seconds faster than my personal record at the Dog, and 31 seconds faster than I did it on a TT bike last summer! YOWZA!!!!!
I definitely was one of those last year that thought a TT bike couldn't make that huge of a difference (as I rode all but 2 TT's in '07 on my stock Fara), but I was blatantly wrong. My bike was so comfortable, oi! Definitely, if you're a TT'er or even a roadie, GET FIT FOR YOUR BIKE! We've got some good time spent into just the fitting of El Gato, and I wouldn't have asked for less. Not only was it comfortable, but my power output was so efficient, that the race near felt effortless. And of course, go to the best....he knows his bikes!
Round One: Cat beats Dog into submission