Two Rivers Time Trials 2013 — Part I

Aero helmets, skin suits, disk wheels and TT bikes are in abundance at this event, as they should be.  It’s the Two Rivers Time Trial Series.

I have heard and seen pictures about this series for the last two years, but I had never attended.  Why? Well, probably because I was intimidated.  I thought for sure that I would just get smoked, but I also felt like I didn’t have the right equipment.  Well, this year I had no excuses.  I have a TT bike, I have an aero helmet, I have my AIM kit and I look like a full fledged super hero in my get up.  I didn’t feel like my fitness level was where I wanted it to be, but I had to woman-up and put myself out there.

So, last Thursday, was the day.  I got off work and headed home.  I was nervous because I’d never done anything like this before and I had so many thoughts going through my head.  Should I drive down to the Big Dam Bridge and then ride my bike to the race site? Or should I just drive all the way down there?  I need to grease my chain.  Do I need shoe covers?  Don’t forget to bring a water bottle for the car.

After my flurry of getting ready, I ran into the debacle of my aero helmet.  I had never used it before so of course it had to be difficult!  I was having a hard time getting it seeded on my head, but luckily, Phil worked on it for me and got it fixed so I didn’t look like a goober, plus it was safer.  But now I felt like I was running late! Phil helped me load up my bike and then I was on my way.  Unfortunately traveling West-bound on Cantrell Rd. at 5:30pm on a Thursday isn’t the easiest thing to do, so it made me feel even more nervous!

I finally arrived at the Ludwig Law Firm parking lot, the base camp for the race, around 6pm.  It made me a little more calm that I was on-site, but I was still pretty nervous.  I saw a little table with a lady behind it at the end of the parking lot and figured that this must be where I register.  I filled out the necessary paper work (which included purchasing a one day US Cycling license) and paying.  In return I was given a bib number.

I could breathe a little easier again (but was still nervous) and I saw my friend, Jo, who helped me pin my bib on my jersey.  After that, I unloaded my bike and we both went out for a little warm up towards the park but I turned back early because, well, I was nervous! Are you seeing a trend here?  I went back to the Ludwig parking lot but most people were out warming up or down near the starting area, so I decided to head down to the starting area to make sure that I didn’t miss anything.

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I chatted with a few more friends in the starting area and then it hit me.  I got a serious case of the butterflies! I really don’t remember the last time I was this nervous.  I don’t even think I was this nervous before my half ironman!  Then I hear my name called to get in line.  This was all so foreign to me and I was just trying to figure out what the heck was going on.  People started to take off one by one and before I knew it there was only one person between me and the starting line.  One of the race volunteers came behind the bike in front of me and held the back wheel between his legs as the racer clipped in and then was released.

Uh, do I have to do that!?

I was up.  The guy went behind my bike and held the back wheel to stabilize me and I got my right foot clipped in, but then I was having some issues getting my left foot in.  I started to freak out and then the guy said, “It’s alright, you have like 15 seconds.” I took a deep breath and then was able to get my left foot clipped in.  A few seconds later, I was released.

To my surprise, I didn’t fall over, so I was already doing better than I expected.  I started to crank and based on the warm up I did, I knew that I was going to have a tail wind on the way out to Two Rivers Park, so I enjoyed the assistance while I had it.  I felt good riding and all of my nerves were almost instantly gone.  I was holding a good pace and was even more encouraged when I rode past the intersection of Pinnacle Valley Rd and Country Farm Rd. where my friends from AIM (Chris Irons, Scott Wall and Kevin Birdwell) were all cheering me on.

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After turning around in Two Rivers Park and doubling back on Country Farm Rd. I rode by the AIM guys again as I made the turn on to Pinnacle Valley Rd., past Ludwig Law Firm and then making the turn to stay on Pinnacle Valley Rd. past Maumelle Park.  Now it was time for the hills.  They were tough, I’m not going to lie, and I know that this is an area that I could improve in for the next race.

After I got over the first big hill, I knew that the finish line was going to be coming up, but I was having a hard time remembering exactly where the finish line was.  I knew it was near the Arkansas Arboretum, but I couldn’t remember exactly where that was or if I was going to have to turn off anywhere.  So unfortunately I slowed down a bit while I looked around.  Yet another area I could improve on.  After another smaller hill the finish line was just past the drive way for the Arboretum.

My time for the 9.2 mile course ended up being 28:26 for an average of 19.4 mph.  Which is pretty good, but I know I can improve.  I placed 5th out of 8 women, but I stand in 6th place for the series.

The time trials will be held every Thursday until May 23rd and I plan on attending every other Thursday.  You can earn 5 bonus points by beating your previous fastest time and on the last day all participating racers points will be doubled.  So, I definitely have a lot of opportunities to move up in the standings.

If you’d like a new challenge or if you’d like to improve your speed on the bike, then I would recommend coming out to the Two Rivers Time Trials.  Check out their website for more information.

* Thanks to Chris White for taking some awesome pictures out there.

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