Much like last year, my “post season” was long, full of enjoying great food, and had a less than desirable amount of training in it. That said, this indoor time trial was a blast last year and is just long enough to count as a FTP test. So with a good month of training in me before the event, I was looking forward to seeing teammates and getting a good benchmark for the next few months of training. This year, I opted for the late day heat as my kids had sporting events in the morning. What follows is my 2018 Northeast Multisport Indoor TT Race Report. Read on for more.
The race was held at the Goodale’s Bike Shop in Nashua, NH. While last year I was surprised with how large the facility was, we wound up returning a few times during 2017 to purchase bikes and related accessories due to their selection. Make no mistake. This shop is HUGE. In fact, it is the main distribution center for the other two stores Goodale’s stores in the state. When we arrived, we were ushered through a very long hallway to a back room. It was a beautiful exposed brick room with event sponsor banners everywhere. The setup had 8 CompuTrainers setup with a projector showing metrics and course progress on the wall.
There was also a Shimano tent which was providing “neutral” support. Right next to it was a smart trainer setup letting people try it with Zwift.
Every 45 minutes a new “heat” started with eight new riders. My heat started at 3:30 pm but the race started first thing in the morning.
As the race was eight linked CompuTrainers, the first step was to normalize each rider’s weight. I had to weigh myself and my bike. I learned my lesson from last year and did not weigh my bike with a full water bottle on it. Sadly, the baked goods eaten between Thanksgiving and New Year wasn’t super helpful.
I previously wrote about how I use TrainerRoad for all my training. Last year, I tried using the app for warmup, but there were too many ANT+ devices. This year I chose a longer warmup following the general advice that the shorter and harder the event, the longer the warmup you want. Knowing the warmup protocol I wanted to use. My plan was to spend roughly 60 minutes in warm up. I did two 2:00 intervals a bit higher than the FTP I was targeting. Then, I did a few 0:45 intervals quite a bit higher than FTP. I felt more warmed up than I did least year. After my warm-up was complete one of the awesome volunteers took my bike and set it up for me on the CompuTrainer. After a quick bio break it was time to get the CompuTrainer setup.
When we first got on the CompuTrainer there was zero wheel resistance. We could spin at 120 rpm and hit 40 miles per hour at only 120 watts. The next step was the spin down and wheel resistance calibration. To do this, we would spin the wheel above 25 miles per hour and the volunteer would increase or decrease resistance on the wheel until we all were within a given spec. Once that was done, we had a few minutes until our heat started.
- Ride Name:
- Distance: 0 mi
- Elevation Gain: 0 ft
- Moving Time: 00:00:00
I signed up for the second to last heat of the day as I had a bunch of other things to get done during the day. By then, there weren’t as many people hanging around as I remembered from last year. This year’s course was an interesting one. It was pancake flat for 2/3 of the race. This, I thought, would be pretty decent for my strength. Get into a good rhythm and then give everything you’ve got over the two hills. Knowing this was a FTP test, I knew I had to save something in the tank for those two hills. They were going to feel like mountains.
After a quick overview of the rules and technology, It was time to go. I started off feeling good, but knew that I was going to blow up if I kept that pace up. I backed it off a bit. The goal was to keep the watts in a range from 275-290. That felt like a reasonably difficult thing so I stuck with it. A Northeast teammate (Ryan) was next to me. He was pushing stronger than I was from the beginning and got to be 20-30 seconds ahead of me. I tried to keep that gap from growing as best I could.
Once I got to the hill, I felt the resistance clamp down on the rear wheel. Dang it. There’s those cookies from the holidays. Oh well, since this was a FTP test I shifted to my easiest gear. Still, even with that, the watts jumped to 290-300+. At this point I knew I was going to give it all I had left.
Ryan finished 30-40 seconds ahead of me and was awesome about providing additional cheering and motivation to finish. I felt like I gave a pretty good effort but may have held back a little too much on the first half of the course. Later when I did the FTP calculation, I added a few watts to the new FTP number.
It’s a funny thing. Nobody gets off their bike until the last competitor finishes…even if that means they are 4-5 minutes behind you. We all stayed on board, cheering the last of the competitors.
In the amount of time it took for me to get off my bike, change, and get settled, the last heat was off and wrapping up. My friend Dan was in this heat. He’s also in my age group and wound up winning it. I stuck around waiting for the awards and saw many Northeast Multisport teammates take home prizes and top honors. It was awesome. I looked at my average power for the ride, calculated the new FTP, and was happy to see I was back to where I was in the spring last year. I also wound up beta testing a new FTP protocol by TrainerRoad and it was spot on the calculation resulting from this indoor TT. So at least now I know I’ve got a benchmark for the next few months.
What I Learned
No race report is complete without a section for what I learned before, during, or after.
- The longer warmup was better this year as I felt better from the gun.
- Try not to eat as many baked goods from November to January. It has a negative effect on your watts/kilogram and just makes it that much harder to “get it back”.
- Know that the last heats of the day won’t get much in the way of swag. Most of the vendors were already packing up shop when I got there.
- Bring the torpedo bottle next year. I didn’t think I needed it but would have preferred the bottle at my face instead of behind me.