2020.04.19 – Long Island Social Distancing TT #3: Bizarro Week.

Week three has finally come and is almost now gone. It is fun to spend all week in anticipation of the weekend race. Unfortunately the weather did not want to cooperate over the weekend. I was going to race the TT Saturday, but with rain predicted through mid afternoon, I thought it be wiser to push it off to Sunday. The setup I was going to run could become quite sketchy on wet roads, and in these times, I do not need to risk ending up in the emergency room.

This change in schedule meant that my eighty mile ride planned for Sunday on some new routes, was going to have to wait. Paul announced that this was going to be Bizarro week TT, in other words, race a Fat Bike, a Single Speed, a Recumbent, anything different.

So I decided to race Brighid (the Celtic Saint and Goddess of Poetry, Healing and Smith Craft.) She is the single speed fixed gear steel frame (steel is real) Surly Steamroller I got in the fall for commuting and other riding. The idea was to keep in touch with that kind of riding over the winter when track season is over. Unfortunately we do not have easy access to an indoor track.

I also decided to swap my wheels around. For track I have a disc rear wheel and a front Tri-Spoke, I believe from HED. They are an older wheel set, and are dual use, road and track. That means that they have a brake track on them so I can use them on Brighid as she also has brakes. My track bike, Odyne (Goddess of Pain,) does not have brake mounts anywhere on the frame, therefore making it too dangerous to race on the open roads.

I installed these wheels on Brighid, and swapped my gearing around. I settled on a 48×15, for an 86.4 gear inch. A gear calculator indicated that if could keep a cadence of 100rpm for the whole ride I could average about twenty five miles an hour, which would be faster then my TT with my road bike from the week prior.

After a poor night sleep, and therefore sleeping in a bit, I packed up and drove out to Calverton. I arrived around ten forty five in the morning. The sun was nice and bright coupled with a nice deep blue sky interrupted by random puffy white clouds. The temperatures are still in the fifties, although the wind chill made it feel like high forties.

I pulled out my road bike so I could go out and do my usual warmup lap. Besides warming up, it also allows me to assess the road and wind conditions. At this point in the day, the wind was coming out of West, South-West, at about fourteen miles an hour.

With the warmup lap completed, I pulled out Brighid, and got out of my warmups. Before rolling off, I got my usual pre-ride, pre-suffering, picture. Being alone, I settled with my tripod and phone holder in order to get the photo.

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I rolled up to the forty miles per hour sign, and put my foot down. On this setup, I was not going to try to track stand and hit the start button on my Garmin at the same time. Between the fixed gear, the wheels, and the wind, I felt it it would be smarter to be safe and loose a second or two.

Just like last week, as soon as I setoff, I had a nice tail wind, which propelled my up the hill to the golf course. With a single speed, the gear I had selected was the only gear I had to work with. I had to get on top of the gear one way or another, and the wind greatly aided me with that task. Also, the nice feature regarding these wheels, is that once they are up and spinning, it is like having a flywheel, they just want to keep rotating.

The first two kilometers where a blur, and before I knew it I was arriving at turn one. Between the wind and the need to pedal through the whole corner, no coasting allowed, I tried to be as cautious as I could but I still made a mess out of this turn. Even though I have 165mm cranks, my road bikes are 170mm, I still worried about pedal striking, which can lead to a very unpleasant day.

I was now on sector two, and with the head wind, it was going to be rough. This is also the longest sector at about two miles in length. I worked the small undulating hills. These small rises in the road stung quite a bit on the fixed gear single speed setup. And then there was the ever present headwind. I set my Garmin head-unit to beep every time my cadence would drop below ninety. On this sector it went off on many occasions.

Finally turn two came into view, and before I knew it I was turning onto sector three, the second longest stretch at 1.3 miles. Here the wind was hitting me from my left side and I had to keep maximum concentration with my bike handling while my heart rate was creeping up towards the 180 zone.

After what felt like eternity, I was finally barreling down on turn 3 to put me on the fourth sector. This would be the shortest one at a length of half a mile. Approaching the turn, I noticed a car coming from my left, but I had enough time to make the turn, even though it would be closer then I would have liked. Therefore, I took the turn tight to the shoulder and stayed there to let the vehicle pass me by.

Finally, the wind was pushing me from behind and I was able to get my speed up to an average of 24.2mph with a peak of 25.6. I was averaging 96 rpm on the pedals, maxing out at 101. I made quick work of this half mile stretch, and smashed the last turn to put me back onto Grumman Boulevard. On this last bit of road I was now dying, even with the tailwind. I brought my heart rate up to 180/1 bpm and I was now completely covered in drool and snot. I always warn others that when I am at maximum effort, I am not responsible for the faces I may display.

In my delirium I was still able to stop my Garmin at the finish line, which read 15:37.32. I was quite shocked. The week before I had scored a 15:22.08. That meant that I was only 15.24 seconds slower on the heavier bike. Go Fixie! After packing up and returning home for lunch, I decided to go back out for a thirty-seven mile ride taking the north shore hills to head over to Northport. I could not resist another ride.

There is no video this week since I could not find the camera mount for this bike. I have seen it recently but suddenly when it is needed, it is nowhere to be found. Oh well…

Next week I will be back to using the Juno, the race road bike, and hopefully I can crush my own Personal Record (PR). I think I am taking to this Time Trial discipline. I am enjoying the suffering caused by trying to squeeze out a maximum effort. During these events, it is the only time that “…it does not hurt…”

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