I arrived after a 3 mile detour (aka getting a little lost), and registered w/o issue. Upon placing my TT bike on the trainer, I realized both sew-ups were flat as pancakes, but my personal mechanic had no way to be reached. Desparately searching the address book in my phone turned up no answers to the pivotal question "What PSI should I have in my tires?". Frantic, I ran into Sal's Bar to find another tubless timetrialer to ask...luckily I found Shishilla (sp?) who was full of great advice. I ran back to El Gato and pumped her up for speed for our up-coming wind battle.
During warm-up, I watched as the battery on my bike computer ebbed and the screen went blank....Great! Was this morning ever going to let up? Resolved with my situation, I continued my warm up and took my final pre-race bathroom break. When I returned, my teammate notified me that my start was only three minutes away! Terrified, I darted out of the lot and charged the few blocks to the start line, only to find the officials flagging me to the start line.
The adrenaline in my blood stream was thick and charged as they told me I had 10 seconds....five..four...three...two...go! I took off, confused and stunned, only to get bucked out of my aero bars after a mile as I entered a clearing at mile One with a cross wind so fierce it forced me out onto my bullhorns in my last attempt to stay upright. Instantly, I questioned whether or not this was going to be the first race in my career that I wasn't going to finish. Luckily, the cross-wind was only so brutal at certain points, so I was able to bury the thought and press on. Without a computer read-out, I rode completely on my adrenaline stores and the sound of my crank-arms turning over. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whooosh....
Photo thanks to Skinnyski.com, position thanks to Hollywood (dotcom)
I ate up 5 riders as I went, worried my speed wasn't up to par, but noticed I was being teased my a lightness in my chest....'amazing'.....'Jay would be so proud'.....'fight'.....a whisper in my head that never let up, but one that I couldn't exactly find deep inside.
I crossed the line in such a mental blur that I had to ask if I had really finished. Tired, but yet amazingly elated, I made the chilled return to my car and the warmth of all my clothes. Seeking respite, I changed and found a place within Sal's to warm my cold hands and await the feedback I so desparately sought after...what was my time?? Without any computer, I hadn't the faintest idea of whether or not I had made my goal of beating my previous time on the course.
I waited almost 4 hours.......
Finally, the scores were posted. It took everything in me not to sprint across the dining room floor as I made my way to the list. Starting from the bottom, I looked for my name....still not there....no....where the?..... To my utter shock I found my name at the top of the list! Secret Goal '09 was accomplished: Win a ROY TT!!! My first ROY TT win ever!!! (actually, my first ROY win, period) The only other was a part of a stage race last year, but I didn't even find out until the 2nd stage was completed, so the effect just wasn't the same..... And only 7 seconds of the top female in the 20K open, a Cat 2 rider for Flanders! I had felt that my race was done well, but this was more than AMAZING as a type of validation.
Still to this moment, I find myself smiling sincerely as I pass by the mirror in the bathroom. Still, utterly shocked. And beat my time from last year by 36 seconds even with the 30+ mph wind gusts!!! It was quite simply what I needed to help my cycling season: a major boost in confidence, and a fabulous case in patience...and perseverence.