I'm also happy overall that what I initially didn't think was a great race turned out to be a huge improvement for me. This was my second TT ever, the first being the 10K TT at the Working Man's Stage Race last summer. The Working Man's TT was a short course consisting mostly of rollers, which, as far as road riding goes, are my ideal terrain--I enjoy short, hard efforts because they hurt physically rather than mentally. The Waterville Valley TT, on the other hand, was 33K with 1,100+ feet of climbing, much of it on the way out. Yee-owch. So, a MUCH harder course (Katherine, who specializes at TTs, confirmed this for me as well). As far as equipment went, it was sorta on par with last time: last time I was running clip-on aero bars, a not-so-speedy steel bike, and carbon wheels, this time I was running clip-on aero bars, my 6Fem3 of awesomeness, and Mavic Aksiums.
My plan was to average 17ish on the way up, then crank it on the way down. I started out pretty happy, chugging along with the computer showing 21, 20, 19, etc.--fine for building up and all that, I thought, especially with things going gradually uphill. Then the grade increased, the real ouching began, and the Cat 3 chicks started passing me. Plus, I had no 30-second person to chase (Susanne Delaney from NEBC was supposed to be there, but she broke her collarbone, so is out for a while)... that sucked. Mentally, I was not terribly happy.
On the other hand, one of the reasons that I chose to do this TT in the first place (other than to gauge my progress, other than the fact that it was guaranteed to be safer than a road race or crit, and other than the fact that I was going to Concord, NH to help my friend Melissa with her move afterward) was to get used to riding alone in a race and dealing, mentally, with passing people and being passed. Psychologically, this is a HUGE thing for me in cyclocross: I would say that I am much better at gradually improving my position over the course of a race than I am at getting a position in the first lap and defending it. It's my racing style, it is what it is, and it's served me well in my better 'cross races. However, what I need to work on is NOT getting psyched out by the girls who make moves early on and pass me. So the more I can get used to working through that "ugh" feeling I get when someone passes me, the better.
And at Waterville, there was a lot of ugh. Kristen Gohr passed me first. That was expected... she is Cat 1 now. Then it was Clara... then Danielle... yikes. When I hit the turnaround point, I was averaging less than I had hoped to, too. Blah. Then I hit a metric crap-tonne of the wind on the way down. My computer showed 19.6 mph as my average, and I had been gunning for 20.
According to the results, though, my actual average was somewhere around 20.38--about 0.4 mph FASTER than my TT at Working Man's, which was a third of the distance, a third of the struggle, and involved no wind. So, like, I'm still not a time trial specialist, but it appears that my strength is generally getting better.
Of course, I haven't raced since then, so CERTAINLY, my strength is gone.
Uh, right. Hopefully mountain bike racing in a few weeks will help me to chillax and be less insane.