2020.04.05 – Long Island Social Distancing TT #1

It has been a while since I last posted. Following the roller races, I put my head down and started training. I managed to increase my volume substantially while also doing intervals. Between January and February I was able to accumulate around 1500 miles of riding. I was feeling good, strong, and ready to have a fantastic season. Then March happened.

As we scrambled to figure out the new reality we were thrust into, my friend Paul came up with a clever idea. With all racing canceled for the forsake future, and with keeping with social distancing orders, he figured he would start a Long Island Social Distancing Time Trial series. This is a solo effort race, and therefore we are forced to maintain distance due to the nature of said race. It is being run on the honor system. We show up do our race, and report back the time. This will hopefully keep us engaged and motivated while we struggle with our current reality. I strongly believe being fit and healthy is a useful tool under the current circumstances.

Our April challenge is the old ten kilometer Grumman Time Trial loop used years ago for the New York State Time Trials. In the week leading up to my first attempt, I did some preparation since I need to shift my focus for this type of event. I have not participated in a Time Trial in years, and I was never any good at it anyway. Time to learn.

I decided to pick the 11:00am slot on Sunday so I would not have to kill myself to get out of bed and ready. I drove out with my mother to get her out of the house and see some other parts of the Island that she does not usually get to see. I arrived at the same time as my teammate Robert Peras. We rode a warmup lap together, also a recon lap. For Robert it was his first time on the course. We practiced safe distancing by riding side by side and with a good gap between us. I decided to warm up on my Specialized Roubaix, aka my training bike.

Once completed the course, I swapped bikes for the Giant Propel. I fitted her with the carbon deeper dish wheels, the race tires with latex tubes, no saddle bag, and no bottle cages. However, I did mount my Garmin Virb action camera to the handlebars. I was now suited up decided in my semi aero helmet with integrated visor, clear visor being the choice on this overcast day, my skin suit with aero gloves, and wind shoe covers over my shoes.

About to set off into the Pain Cave.

I set off first, and Robert was going to head off five minutes behind me. I got in position at the 40 mile per hour sign. I started the Camera. I took a few deep breaths, and pressed start button on my Garmin Edge 810. I pushed off and clipped in as quick as I could, and proceeded to get up to speed quickly. I have not ridden the Giant Propel in race mode in a long time, and when I do, I am always amazed at how quickly it moves.

Right at the start we are confronted with a bit of a rise in the road. I pushed through it, and then tried to settle in as I came upon the golf course. The cold air was making my eyes tear up even with the visor, so I was having a hard time keeping an eye on the numbers on the Garmin. My plan was to keep within a certain power range for the first half then up it by ten watts for the second half. Well that plan went out the door fast.

Approaching turn one, a ninety degree right hand turn, I made sure the coast was clear and I went to the middle of the road to make my turn. This way, I could carry as much speed as I could safely do so. As soon as the turn was complete, I was greeted with a short bump to get up and over. Now I was on River Road heading south. A steady five to seven mile per hour head wind was present on this section. I tried to tuck in as low as I could in my drops to be as aero as I could.

I passed parked cars taking the middle of the road, and concentrated hard on keeping the pace up. Thought the race, I found myself gravitating towards a higher cadence. I guess two years of Track racing will do that to you. At the bottom of River Road, I came upon turn two, a right hand turn onto Wading River Manor Road. I had to be a bit carful because there was a bit of sand here, but good sight lines allowed me to take the turn wide and fast.

Normally, heading north-west on this road, one would notice the giant bull off the the right. However, I was too focused and trying to manage the great deal of discomfort I was feeling by now. I just willed my legs to keep going as hard as I could get them to go, hoping I would not blow before the end.

To help me, I set my Garmin head unit to display in kilometers. I then set it to auto lap every kilometer. Essentially I was building one kilometer splits into my data. But it also allowed me to get a feeling of how long I had to go. I declined using miles since, the race is essentially a ten kilometer race. Also, kilometers are shorter then miles, so you feel like you are making better progress as the kilometers tick by.

At the end of this road, I had turn three coming up. The sight lines are not as good here, but still decent enough. I looked over to my left and I saw a car approaching, but it was quite a distance back so I blasted through the turn. This put me on a northbound trajectory, which also meant a much appreciated tailwind. Not long after entering this road that the car that I had spotted passed me too close for comfort. I was in no shape to react. I think by now my mouth was gaping open with drool falling all over me. This section of road was short, but at this stage, with about two kilometers to go it was never ending.

Finally the final turn, turn four, came up, which put me back on the Grumman Boulevard. I knew there would be a slight rise to contend with before the finish, and for some reason I was dreading it. By now I was quite delirious and was struggling to keep a straight line. After what felt like an eternity, I saw the finish line approach. The end of the double yellow line road at the intersection of Line Road were we had parked. I pushed, pushed, and pushed. With a final grunt I pressed the stop button on my computer as the yellow line disappeared under my front wheel.

I keep rolling down the road to recover and regain some composure. Overall, I clocked in at 16:01.56, 40mph sign to the end of the double yellow line. My Garmin says that is a distance of 10.25Km. For the actual 10Km, I posted a time of 15:40.25. I averaged a speed of 23.9 miles per hour (38.4Km/h), an average power of 228 watts (233NP), a average cadence of 99 topping out at 118. My heart rate averaged 172, with a max of 179. It seems I rode most of the event in a 52×17 combo. I know I shifted the read up and down a gear in a few locations depending on need.

In the end, it felt good to get back to the race induced pain cave. How I missed it. I am  quite glad that for now we are able to do this. I am looking forward to next week for my second attempt. Also, because when I am in the pain cave, “...it doesn’t hurt…

A link to the video of my effort: https://youtu.be/KF1zNsQDQqU


My teammate Bobby, done with his effort.

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