This Sunday the sun made a welcome appearance and warmer temperatures greeted the riders at this years installment of the Pontiac Lake Time Trial. This race is held annually at a well established trail in the Pontiac Lake Recreation Area. In it's second year the new Tailwind Racing was promoting the event. The ten mile loop was in fabulous shape and the lap times ended up being very, very fast.
I mention this as a reminder to those who want to establish a goal for their race. Pro tip: If unfamiliar with the trail or the times necessary to place well in your race category it is wise to review the previous years results in order to establish a benchmark. In my case I forgot to do this and didn't pay close attention to my lap time as I rode. This was my first outing at Pontiac for the year and I assumed that I could perform a "virtual" pre-ride of the trail. Pro tip: Pre-ride the race course.
The start had me paired up with a 40-49 local legend, Don Cameron, who promptly blew my doors off at the start. As I watched Don disappear I realized I felt relatively good through the first half of the course and the Niner was performing flawlessly. Compared to the Yankee Springs Time Trial, there was significantly less traffic to contend with. I rode alone for most of the first lap while enjoying the sunny, cool conditions. Maybe I was daydreaming a little too much when I should have been digging harder to push the pace. Lap 2 was generally similar with the addition of more riders to pass and more riders passing me.
In the end, there were no battles waged out on the trail between myself and my rivals. Hell, it was a quiet ride and when I saw the results I realized I was about 6 minutes off the winning pace in my age group. Although I felt like I rode well it was apparent that a whole lot of other folks rode REALLY well.
This takes me back to the importance of pre-riding a trail and establishing basic lap/time goals. Without this knowledge, you're riding blind and handicapping yourself in the process, especially in a speed event such as a Time Trial on a very fast course.
I still walked away feeling great about the day. The pizza was pretty good too.