Okay okay, I lied; you probably will believe it. Last weekend’s Steve Dunlap Memorial Time Trial played out much like any other day of time trialing, albeit with a set of particularly hot, dry, and windy conditions that made the perfect ride a tricky science. But in a world with endless brain Skittles floating a finger’s twitch away, who wants to read about a local flat ITT? So shoot me for making you look, but some interesting tidbits of news did emerge from the day, so please read on.
The fastest times of the day in the 30k distance for the P/1/2 lineup went to Justin Rossi (Marc Pro-Stava), Chris Phipps (Thirsty Bear), and Roman Kilun (Mike’s Bikes p/b Equator Coffees) for the men, with Molly Van Houweling (Metromint), Jane Despas (ICE Sportswear p/b Pinnacle Racing), and Joanna Dahl (Metromint) on top of the women’s results.
While the scorching, tempestuous winds surprised nobody, considering what is normal in the Davis area, weather conditions still merited some strategic thought by contenders. “I was pretty sure it was going to be a slow day due to crazy winds!” remarked Rossi, “(But) I ride the same wheel setup no matter the conditions. I did a TT in Cold Springs, Nevada, at the end of May, with 30-40 mph winds…that made Dunlap seem like a light breeze”. Neither did Van Houweling change her usual set of wheels and gear, and noted that she welcomed the practice under the challenging conditions. “(Dunlap) is almost always windy and extremely hot. This year was no exception. Everyone who survived knows a little more than they did before about their ability to handle a twitchy TT bike in cross winds, head winds, tail winds, and heat!” related Van Houweling. Despas, with a ride only two seconds shy of the leader’s time, seemed unfazed by the blustery day. Other than drinking liters of Pedialyte pre and post-race, the ICE Sportswear captain did nothing different than usual to prepare or race the Dunlap course. She elected not to use a power device to ride, remarking “…data is good, but the legs don’t lie. Just stomp, stomp, stomp to make every pedal stroke count. Chase down the next victim…”
Dahl, meanwhile, discovered that she faced a different sort of pre-race challenge as she prepared to warm up: forgotten shoes. After subsequent scrambling for replacements, she was able to locate a pair to borrow. “(It was the) first time I have ever done that”, said Dahl. “I usually check 2-3 times that I have my shoes and helmet before I head to a race, but failed to do that this time! I was so tired after Pescadero that I just went to bed instead of packing up my TT stuff the night before. Then I was rushing out the door because I really like sleeping, and cut my morning getting ready time close. I was really grateful to have generous and well-prepared teammates in attendance on Sunday!”
Nearly every starter who spoke with NCCN said they were using Dunlap to prepare for the district championship time trial in a few weeks, citing the 30k distance as good practice for Sattley’s 40k course. On his change in pacing strategy in the wind and over extended distance, Rossi detailed, “I pre-rode the course and had a plan to recover a bit on the tailwind sections -30 watts and crush the headwind sections +30 watts. I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to courses…in reality it’s a matter of just cranking out the watts, but I play little games throughout my time trial. I’m always in my head coaching myself through the pain, cutting deals like a used car salesman.” Dahl’s tack was based less on watts and more on saving to go the distance. “My pacing strategy was to hold back in the first 15 minutes so that I didn’t blow up. The 10 mile TTs I am used to are usually less than 25 minutes, and at Dunlap, I had an extra 20 minutes to go.”
Praise for the new Dunlap course this year was fairly universal amongst participants, most agreeing with Van Houweling’s sentiment, “This is a great event and I really appreciate the Davis Bike Club for making it an annual tradition”. Utilizing a stretch of Putah Creek Road familiar to many from the the infamous Wednesday evening “Putah Creek Smackdown” time trials, this year’s location was every bit as windy as the last few years in the South Davis area, but with the added benefit of arguably better scenary, as well as smoother pavement surface. Longtime Davis Bike Club board member, but first-year Dunlap director John Steggall explained, “We essentially had to change the course because the highway patrol has gotten to the point where they insist on having a cop at every single corner where you might be going through a stop sign or anything like that. Each one of those is costing us like 80-100 bucks an hour, and basically it costs more to put on the race than we actually bring in. So we wanted to find a course that was very simple, and had very few stop signs and such. Plus, it’s nice to be in Winters again.” Steggall pointed out that the latest course iteration actually uses much of the ground covered in the original course. Incidentally, Kilun was the Dunlap race director in 2000 as a UC Davis undergrad, when the course was still based out of Winters.
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