by D.Mark Carter
BVF entered two teams for the Cat 4/5 four-man 40K (25 mile) Team Time Trial held Sunday, August 7th in Millstone, NJ.
Team A included: Peter B, Sheldon, Norm and Andrew
Team B included: Don (Donola), D. Mark, (No way) Ray and Jonathan
We traveled down in a caravan of four vehicles (Norm, Andrew, and Sheldon with cars) and the Ray-mobile (pickup truck minus shell). Jonathan drove down a day early so he was waiting when we arrived at the race site. Pickups of team members started at 5:30AM and final departure from the last pickup was completed around 6:45. We headed out of Brooklyn, over the Verrazano thorough Staten Island, over the Outer Bridge and south to Millstone, NJ. The ride took about 1:15 hours with arrive at the registration and race disembarkation location around 8AM. We quickly, set up camp which included a netted canopy (courtesy of Ray) and everyone set up their trainers. Sign in was smooth and fast. We picked up free snatch bars, water bottles and t-shirts and then changed in our uniforms and pinned on our race numbers. Next we put in a nice warm up ride on the trainers and waited for our race start times.
The temperature was hot and humid and there was a slight fog stilling clinging to the trees at the time of registration sign-in. By start time the sun had burned off the fog. There was little if no wind at the start, but there did seem to be a mild breeze on the backside of the course on the open stretches of the course.
Team B set off on the course at 9:15:00AM and Team A followed 7½ minutes later at 9:22:30. Teams were dispatched from the start at 30-second intervals. The team scheduled just before our start (Team B) was a no show, so we there was a 1-minute gap between us and the next team in front of us.
I enjoyed the course. It was mostly a large square route that took riders through a mix of open fields and wooded sections. There were some slight rolling hills which didn't hurt in the beginning, but certainly took their toll in the final 10 kilometers of the race. Team B got off to a good start. Ray led us off the line. We all clipped in smoothly and fell into our pre-designated ride order (Ray, D. Mark, Don, Jonathan). We ran into an early problem. At one point, as Ray rotated off the front and slipped to the back, we hit an expansion joint at a bridge crossing that caused Ray's aero bar-end shifters to slip and drop him into his 53-11 gearing. This caused us to open a gap on Ray and he had to really exert himself to get back on the tail of the train in this huge gearing on a slight incline. We quickly pulled everyone together with good communication. We were flying along at around 25-27 mph and taking 20 second pulls.
We shared the road with other vehicles, but the roads were relatively free of any vehicles. All major turns and intersections were marked and had either course marshals or police to stop traffic. Most of the course had smooth road surfaces and shoulders which were clear of debris.
As Jonathan noted in his earlier posting, I think we could have exerted more in the first half of the course since it was relatively flat. The second half of the course had a lot of gentle 'rollers' which disrupted the smooth pace. Jonathan was the "Billy goat" on the team and volunteered to take the rest of us up most of the climbs. It wasn't unusual to hear someone crying out to "...bring the tempo down..." as Jonathan paced us up the steeper climbs. Don, Ray and I tried to hammer on the flats.
In hindsight, it seems that we lost tempo and our rhythm in the 90 degree turns. About 3/4ths of the way through the course, Ray was experiencing problems recovering from his pulls on the front and from shifting problems at the beginning of the race that caused him to ride in a 53-11 on some hilly ascents. Ray tried to recover by staying on the back. As we came of the front and drifted to the back, Ray would open a hole so that we could tuck into the number 3 spot allowing Ray to recover in the fourth spot. Jonathan put the hammer down on one of the steeper climbs and we popped Ray of the back. Don, Jonathan and I proceeded since we were within just a couple of miles of the finish. At one point near the end, in the distance we spotted riders and though we were chasing down one of the earlier team starts. I think we all joined to pick up the pace slightly to chase down the riders. As it turned out, these riders were just stragglers that had been dropped from their teams. With our energy pretty much drained, we encountered one climb that caused our speed to drop down to 15 mph and filled our legs with lactate. Fortunately there was a down hill section that followed that allowed us to bring our speed up to 32-34 mph and recover slightly.
Going into the final turn and with the finish in sight, we gunned for the line. Don and Jonathan opened a gap of two bike lengths on me, but I was able to find the strength to close the gap as we crossed the line three abreast.
There were a few wild moments near the end of the race, where exhaustion and fatigue played a factor and we almost encountered a crash. One time, as I was leading the team into a 90 degree turn at an intersection, I misunderstood the signals from the course marshal and though we were suppose to go straight through the intersection. At the last moment, I realized we were supposed to turn. I was on my aero bars in a tuck and found myself veering wildly in a huge arc and almost off the course into a parked car in the far lane at the intersection. I know I scared the hell out of Ray, who was behind me, as I struggled to keep my bike up. Another time, I miscalculated my speed and almost crossed wheels with Don as I was drifting off the front to take a position in the rear.
Overall, I had a great time. I enjoyed the whole experience from the very start when we assembled at Floyd to take timing of everyone ride, to the practice rides, to the day of the race. Even though we did not have a lot of practice time together as a team, I felt that we clicked quite well and seemed to know each others limitations and a strengths. A little more practice and a little more effort in the first half of the race, I think we could have moved up several positions. We didn't catch any teams in front of us, but because the team that scheduled to be in front of us was a no show, we had a full one minute gap between us and the next team. I think if there had been a 30 second gap we would have seen the next team ahead of us and chased the for extra time savings. The good news is that, no teams passed us.
After the race, learning that our times (Team A or B) didn't put us any of the podium for a trophy/prize, we packed up and headed to a local diner to chow down before heading home.
A major lesson I learned...do not try to make a high speed turn in a tucked aero-bar position...very, very scary.
It was a great time for all and I know I'm definitely planning on attending next year's TTT. I'm hoping that we can field three teams next year.
Thanks Don, Ray and Jonathan for the great ride! I felt like I was part of a team and was proud to be a BVF'er. Good Team Work.
Team A ... Excellent Job...almost broke 1 hour for 40K (25 miles)!
Here are the final results:
2005 TTT Full Team RESULTS
Cat 4-5 Final Time Based on 3rd Wheel to Cross the Finish Line
1 0:56:29 Quaker City
2 0:57:51 Guys Racing
3 0:58:18 Pedal Sports 2
4 0:59:15 Team Excel
5 0:59:54 3D
6 1:00:03 Brooklyn Velo Force A
7 1:01:09 Atlantic Bicyle Club
8 1:01:17 Liberty Cycle
9 1:01:28 Pedal Sports 1
10 1:01:48 Team Bikery/Shebell & Shebell
11 1:02:05 Cycle Funnattic
12 1:02:11 Brooklyn Velo Force B
- D. Mark
13 1:02:17 Long Branch Peddlers
14 1:02:34 Shippensburg U.
15 1:04:01 Colavita Bolla
Pete + Don
Sheldon + Pete
Ray + Norm