Moose Run.

The Moose Run time trial is a benchmark for Arctic Bike Club Road Racing Division cyclists. Ten miles on a rolling course, complete with soul-crushing false flats and frequent headwinds, it provides a periodic test of where your fitness is compared to the competition.  Of course, that changes as the season progresses, with some riders charging into the spring on-form, only to fade towards the end of the year (this is my usual pattern). Other riders start slow and ride themselves into shape, peaking as the Tour of Anchorage rolls around. During years we run multiple time trials on the course, you can see the progression and evaluate the competition accordingly. It's not foolproof, but it's certainly a good indication of potential. I'm usually counted out of contention by the time the last Moose Run before the Tour is tallied.

This year I counted myself out before the first pedal was turned in anger. I wasn't completely sure I wanted to even sign up. I did, and halfheartedly dragged all of the TT gear out of storage. The disc wheel has a bad freehub, so I put on some 50mm carbon wheels and called it aero. I wasn't expecting much, and I dressed the part.

It was slightly chilly and overcast when I arrived. At least there wasn't much wind, which is unusual for this course- especially the parts that are open to the Glenn Highway wind tunnel. I got on the trainer to try to warm up a bit, but was finding myself sweating after fairly easy efforts. I wasn't tired, but I was sweaty. I shed some layers, and hoped I didn't freeze myself when I got out on the course. Again, no real expectations except for a period of unpleasantness followed by some hacking and light vomiting. All in the name of fun.
  
My usual strategy for pacing is to go as hard as possible right off the gun, blow up a couple miles down the road, and then limp the rest of the way on whatever is left. This time, not sure about what I had in the tank and therefore somewhat cautious, I held back a bit once I was up to speed. My 30 second guy was Dark Lord of the Sith Bill Fleming, who usually crushes me in time trials. I knew I couldn't catch him, but I knew we would pass the racers directly ahead of him. Bill had completed the Iditarod Trail Invitational fat bike race, so I knew his diesel was in good shape. If I could keep him in sight up in the distance, I would have a semi-decent day.

Bike race play-by-plays are usually boring, and time trial stories are probably the worst offenders. To spare you the details and cut to the chase, I kept Bill in sight. Stripped down as I was, I got cold, until the suck gave me something else to think about. I had more than my share of bad moments, but I kept my head down and the pedals turning until I crossed the line. I didn't want to believe what my Garmin had told me, so I waited for the results to be posted.

My personal best, by about 30 seconds. I beat Bill by 1.1 seconds. I was nowhere near the fastest guy in the class, or on the day, but I'd broken a barrier that had stymied me for years. I'd call that as much of a win as I'm going to see.

Maybe I need to get fat and sick more often.  

 

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