Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Irish National Time Trial Championships

The last few days have been a bit of a roller coaster for me. I've come 2nd in the Irish National Time Trial Championships and won the Irish National Road Race Championships. It still feels so unreal and I have to remind myself that it actually really did happen. oh, and yes, I can't swipe that smile off my face :)

But I will start from the beginning.

Irish National Time Trial Champs Race:
After having had a good performance at the Celtic Chrono a few weeks ago, the National Time Trial Championships was next on my list. I spent a lot of my training on the TT bike, getting more and more comfortable with the position on the bike and being able to put out the power in that position.

Full concentration before the start (photo by Brendan Slattery)
A week before the National TT Champs, Ryan and I did the Leinster TT Champs, which we both won. It was a super windy and wet day and because Ryan and I were on about the same time, I got a lend of a HED trispoke and disk (courtesy of Paul Hicks from Kinetix Cycling Products, who's selling them at great prices if interested!). Having never ridden a trispoke before, I was barely able to control the bike in the gusty crosswinds and rode 99% of the TT in the side bars for fear of being blown off the road. But with a time of 23:03 for the 16km in those conditions after 2 hard days of training I was happy. I followed the weather forecast the whole week, hoping for slightly better weather for the National TT Champs, and we were very lucky, the rain had stopped and the winds had turned from strong and gusty to an even, head/tail wind. Because the TT Champs course was a 35km out and back fairly flat loop on big open roads, it was a headwind the way out and a tail wind on the way back. I was also looking forward to trying out my new SmartAeroTech skinsuit that Ryan bought me for my birthday, supported by SmartAeroTech. Together with my Specialized Shiv (also originally from Kinetix), I knew that equipment wise I was set up perfectly.

Catching flies at full speed :) (photo by John Michael Troy)
My warm up and preparation had gone well and I was feeling good. The only difficult thing was to balance out the fact that you're meant to go a little easier on the way out, but because there was more uphill/headwind, there was more to be gained by going a little harder - this was going to hurt! Without a power meter on my bike and going by feel I just hoped I got that balance right. I felt good from the start, and was able to control the bike, staying in the extensions for almost the complete ride. I overtook all of the six women who had started ahead of me, using them as mental rungs on a ladder that I was climbing. Then I started overtaking some of the Paralympic cyclists too. Shortly after the turnaround point I could see Olivia Dillon, who had started 2min behind chasing. On the faster way back, I had run out of rabbits and I could only go by my km counter on my Garmin. I just hoped that Olivia Dillon would not catch me. I ramped up the speed for the last 3km and crossed the line with a time of 51min 47secs. Olivia Dillon came in with a flying time of 51min 25 secs, putting me into 2nd place. Third placed Siobhan Horgan finished with a time of 52min 56secs.

Siobhan Horgan, Olivia Dillon, Melanie Spath (photo by Ciaran Fallon)
Obviously I would have loved to win the TT champs, but I was happy with the result considering I first rode a TT bike only six weeks ago and a more technical course may have suited me more (as an 'ex' mountain biker). I knew Olivia Dillon was in great form and beating the seasoned professional would be a tall order at this stage, but coming within 22 seconds of her is a really good sign for me that I have improved since the Celtic Chrono.

My Strava file from the TT can be found here.

Links to reports & pictures:

I'll be posting about the Irish National Road Race Champs in the next post!

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