Fourth from the Bottom — My Time Trial

On Proper Goal Setting

My Time Trial Results
Looking at these numbers is better than the placement!

I recently participated in the Wisconsin State Time Trial Championship in Cottage Grove WI. There are many stories surrounding the weekend, but I want to focus on my finish of my time trial.

I posted the photo of the results (screen captured from the US Cycling site) and noted how despite the low finish I am quite happy with my result.

My Time Trial — 4th Last > DFL > DNF > DNS > couch potato

My WI State time trial bike race result
About what I figured
This is the most common reaction friends have and I appreciate it. To be honest this is the placement I expected. I’m not able to shed my winter weight and circumstances hold me back from getting sufficient training. I’m not offering them as excuses but as facts. So when I queued up to start I did not expect a podium finish.

My Time Trial — Placement Goals are Lame

I was griping to a buddy the fact I lost a Strava King of the Mountain (KOM). The KOM is an obviously strong cyclist who is a rapidly rising star. That buddy told me point blank to NOT worry about KOMs and to focus on personal records (PRs). Then in the off season I was reading Joe Friel’s The Cyclist Training Bible and he writes that your goals should be on things YOU are able to control.

What can one control? One’s training, one’s weight, one’s dedication to the sport. What can one not control? The training and ability of those who you compete against. Maybe an out of state team shows up with future national or international pros. You might be smashing your ride doing way better than you should, but the national team that shows up just beats you. Does that mean you should be disappointed?

As it turns out, I made a significant gain in PR on the Strava segment I note above and in fact that gain has given me hope I earn the KOM back. However, I will not gain by focusing on the KOM but by focusing on a PR.

My Time Trial — Internal Goals are Where it’s at

Internal goals are those goals which are influenced by your training and dedication. Prior my start I noted down a few such goals. I reviewed the course on Strava and figured a sufficiently painful (but obtainable) speed goal was to hit 20 mph on average on course. I also was aiming to achieve an average power of 230 watts or more.

When I finished, I knew I had a decent ride. Four others passed me up and my speed peaking a climb was under 10 mph. When the ride ended I was certain I had given all I could give.

Reviewing my ride data confirms I achieved my power and speed goals. The power numbers showed a good increase in FTP and my speed met my goal. Furthermore, I held an average heartrate of 163 bpm for the ride which is a high value for me (my max HR is 174 bpm this year). I confess, I don’t really know if that is a sign of stronger and more enduring legs or reduced cardiovascular fitness.

Whatever, the point is I set goals I could achieve or succeed at without depending on anyone else to fail or succeed.

My Time Trial — Endurance Athletes

One thing drawing me to this sport is the tremendous support cyclists give to each other. Yeah, we are often competing for the same spot on the podium but we all have the tools to know if we did our best, we all know if we held back or not. When we finish behind others we know it just wasn’t our day and to be happy for those who bested us.

My Time Trial — 100

I recently stumbled onto this article by Cammi Phan and what she says in the article is so blinkingly obvious it is hard for us to keep it in mind. We all start in the same place and this is Sucksville. So every time I line up to start a race, every time I venture out on a Tuesday or Thursday ‘Fest I aim to improve and for me right now that means dropping further out than before, until one day it is different.

So, come this weekend you will find me on the starting lines of the New Glarus Omnium. Undoubtedly knowing I’ll get passed up, dropped, maybe even pulled. I will be there and the song in my heart will go like this:

Round round robin run around
Gotta get back where you belong
Little bit harder, just a little bit more
Little bit farther than you than you’ve gone before

Good Stuff!

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