Team Stages

Hardest race in my life

A hot, windy, humid day made this two man team time trial the most demanding race of my life

September was a hot month in Texas with high temperatures in the 90's or more.  Saturday, 9/21/19 proved to be especially challenging.  To add insult to misery, the race was contested from 11 am until 5 pm, the worst possible time of the day.  This race was a two man team time trial with 26.5 mile laps that included over 1000 feet of climbing on a time trial bike in hot and windy conditions.  The temperature averaged in the 90's over the six hours of competition and was further exacerbated by winds from 10-30 mph.  This is a very challenging course with speed extreems from 40+ mph to a mere 6 mph on tough climbs in the lowest of gears.

I volunteered to start the first lap and also ride a total of three laps compared to two for my partner in crime, Clif Cassidy.  Clif is a national class time trial expert who also holds the 60+ age group one hour record set on the velodrome in Colorado Springs, CO a couple or so years ago.  We have been racing together on Colivita Texas in the past, but routinely have raced team time trials in the past.  In 2011, we teamed up with Kurt Bickel and Stuart Harbottle to set a four man 40k team trial PR in the 51 minute range.

But, back to the race.  I started out the first lap and started a bit high on watts and also experienced three dropped chains costing me about ndarly three minutes completing the lap in 1:21:15 and a moving speed average of 20.2 mph.  I really could feel the heat and wind.  I sweat a lot and struggled to get rehydrated before hopping back on the bike after Clif rode a 1:14:54 for the second lap, effectively putting us in first place in all age/gender groups.  I followed with a slower 1:25:21 as the heat and wind climbed.  I was really hot and dehydrated after the lap and sat in the car trying to hydrate and cooler off.  I was ready to call it quits until Clif crossed the line with a 1:21:18 for lap four in the lead.  I was off the bike ready to tell him that I was cramping front and backs of my legs and totally beat and dehydrated.  But, we were in the lead....... So, after five minutes of coaxing my legs and body back on the bike, I started out, now in second place a few hundred yards behind first place.  I thought I would try to catch up and just play the lap as a test.  I was able to catch "my rabbit" at about 7 miles into the lap on the worst climb, that 6 mph wall......  Then I was able to pull ahead and maintain about a 1-2 minute lead.  I was "hearing cycle sounds" behind me, driving me on to the finish. However, it was just an aural hallucination.......  No one was even close behind.  

We set a new course record for the six hour two person team time trial.  Although I passed six hours during the fifth lap, the rule was that you complete the last lap you start before crossing six hours so that they could calculate your time for the partial section.

I am not sure how I completed the last 1:25 of the race, was delerious, dehydrated and hearing sounds of bikes behind me.  Our six hour average speed of 19.25 mph doesn't really tell the story about the difficulty of the course in Glen Rose, TX with 1227 feet in climbing per lap much less the conditions.

Although I was still sweating after the race, I went into heat exhaustion due to remaining in the heat for the awards ceremony. Immediately after getting our trophy I hopped into the car to make the 1.5 hour drive back.  I started feeling much worse as I drove, even wondering if I would need to stop.  But, I made it only to decide I really was going down hill and needed to head to the ER.  

I was admitted after receiving two bags of fluid by IV due to renal failure and extreme dehydration.  But, I was able to get my renal numbers down within two days and return home.

The moral of the story is, if you don't train for the heat (mostly Zwift training during the summer) don't race in the heat.  Also, I learned that I am capable of mentally pushing myself beyond what my body is able to handle.  The wife has been reminding me of these two facts ever since the race........

But, we were happy to represent Team Stages with a win and course record.......





There are currently no ratings or comments on this blog post.