US Master Road Nationals TT

"If you're not first, you're last" - Ricky Bobby
“If you’re not first, you’re last” – Ricky Bobby

Last week I made a quick overnight trip to Utah so that I could roll the dice at the USA Cycling Master Road Nationals Time Trial – 34km/21 miles on an out and back course on Antelope Island near Ogden. With Master Track Worlds coming up in October I decided to skip the Road Race and Criterium (crash avoidance!).

The bike completed its journey from DIA to SLC sans any TSA inflicted damage. On Tuesday evening I got in an hour of on the trainer in the hotel and felt great, and followed that up with watching Mission Impossible 5 at a nearby cinema. Having a 3yr old and family living thousand of miles away, going to a cinema has become as rare as an Aurora Borealis sighting in Colorado! I was so excited that I rushed into the cinema, got my ticket, food, and sat down thinking I’d missed the first few minutes of the movie. 10mins later I realized that I had just watched the final 10mins! F**k. I got in some Skype time with the family then went back in to watch MI-5 from the START. The movie was great, as was having an electric reclining chair to slouch into. It was getting late so I bailed out as soon as it got to the point where I knew the ending. It kind of worked out!

Back at the hotel, there was a raging party; however, the music seemed to fade out around 10pm and I actually got in some decent sleep. The next morning I whipped up some oatmeal at 7am, lazed around, rior to leaving the hotel, busted out the 3M #77 and glued on my race number (Not the easiest task, but I got it done and it seemed solid), then drove over to Antelope Island.

I got in my warm up, and still felt pretty good and ready to put in a decent effort. A quick swig of fluids then I rode to the start line 1/4 mile away. Just as I arrived I reached back to feel my number starting to peel off my skinsuit. Fortunately, one of the official was nice enough to source some pins and secure my number. I would later discover that the pin job was not great and I had raced with a flappy number.

The race started off with a climb. Not huge, but it definitely felt like it dragged on for longer than I expected it to. What goes up, must go down, so there was fast decent (close to 50mph) to follow. I got passed by one rider about 3/4 of the way to the turnaround so either they were going to blow up, or I was now 30+sec behind fighting for the top podium spot (assuming said rider was going to win). I passed a couple guys before the turn and we had a bit of back and forth which was kind of irritating, but whatever. After the turn I could see last years 2nd place finisher Jamey Yanik already closing in on me. He started last, 2mins behind me, and seemed to be hauling along at a fast clip. It wasn’t much longer before he passed me. Not that much faster, but fast enough that the different in speed resulted in a substantial time gap by the time we both finished. Yanik destroyed the field and took the win by a large margin (adding to the short track MTB national title he won earlier in the year). Yanik went on to solo his way to the 35-39 road race title 2 days later so was clearly onto some excellent form.

I “ran what I brung”, but that was only good enough for 6th… Not exactly what I was hoping for. I’ve spent about 80% of my training either on the TT bike or track bike (same position) and had expected to go fast, but just didn’t have the watts to seal the deal this year. Comparing my time to other guys that I raced against in Colorado that also competed at nationals, instead of losing a minute to them, I’m now gaining a minute. At least that’s one positive to take away… I’ve improved steadily throughout the year.

Yanik moves to the 40-44 age group for 2016, but it looks like most of the other guys will still be in 35-39 for a few years to come. Depending on the location of master nationals next year, I may have another crack at a title.