Race report submitted by Crystal Anthony:
For over a year, I’ve had a 404 rear wheel boxed up in my closet. Having snagged a good deal on a pair of Zipps, I had immediately set up the front wheel but clung to my Powertap rear wheel like a security blanket and left the Zipp unopened. After lugging the informative but weighty Powertap up 4500 feet of climbing at Battenkill, I questioned whether it was worth knowing in data form that I had a new 5-minute power record, especially when the pain in my lungs and legs seared that impression into my weary mind even as I cracked up the last climb. Since winning races comes down to crossing the line first not submitting the best PowerAgent print-out, I wondered whether a lighter race wheel saving any bit of energy on an incline might be more appropriate.
Figuring nothing risked, nothing gained, I decided the Crank the Kanc might be just the opportunity to challenge myself to wean off the power data. It was my type of race, a fairly long, uphill TT. Instead, I would stick to a strategy based on HR, trusting that my training and preparation would pay off as long as I executed properly.
Ahhh, the two 404s spun fluidly as I pedaled to the start area. Already I felt more grown up J As I mentioned, however, I didn’t enter the race completely naked of data. I had borrowed my dad’s Garmin to monitor HR, but also to do a few distance and speed checks. Within a few minutes of starting, I had settled into a rhythm, and the HR monitor began beeping: “HR is too high” popped up over the screen, blocking all the numbers. Oops, I had not reset the HR zones. Thus, I had to time checking my HR for the few moments in between when the warning disappeared and reappeared for the duration of the race. However, I found that naturally I settled in at about the right HR, and I just pedaled out the miles, picking off riders and taking the tangents, ignoring as best as possible the constant warning dings.
My folks and some friends met me at several points to cheer and to give a time check to Marti Shea, a super strong climber who had the course record and had started about a half hour ahead. Halfway through, I had a 1 minute advantage, and I saw by the time that I reached the start of the final 5-mile 7% grade climb, I was several minutes ahead of her record pace. My goal for the climb was to stay above 12mph if possible, knowing that I would finish within 25 minutes if I did. My legs felt strong and I maintained my pace. In the final surge to the finish I just remember a huge smile coming on – everything from training to course recon to race prep to race execution had come together so well. My time of 1:07:27 was about 5 ½ minutes faster than the women’s record, over 2 minutes ahead of the next woman, and ranked 5th overall on the day, including all the men’s fields and teams.
Sadly, I have no idea what my power output was so I cannot include those numbers here. Haha. (Ok, so maybe I did try to extrapolate from my HR and previous files…) In all seriousness, this will definitely be one of the highlights of the year! I have to thank my LadiesFirst team for making it all possible, Lyne for excellent coaching, Dean P. for a great course strategy, my parents and friends for the top-notch race support, and Seaside Cycle for the bike setup.