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The Tracey Gaudry Diary 1999
The Local East Coast Australian Time is
World Championship Time Trial - Treviso, Italy
October 5, 1999: 26km, flat
With a 3.53 pm start, it was a long day hanging around idly, waiting ... We had spent the week practising sitting around until mid-afternoon 'chilling' out. I tell you, it takes practise! The day was overcast and completely still, not a flutter of movement in the multitude of flags about the circuit. A 'perfect' day as far as time trials go. A true race of truth with no variation in conditions from the first to the last rider. It was an absolutely cracker-jack field with the strongest line up ever in the elite womens' field. Any of 15-20 riders were capable of finishing in the top 5. It would all come down to the one who had the legs on the day, nothing else.
We rode in from 15km to the finish and settled for a few moments before commencing our pre-event warmup. I felt strong, but a little sluggish and hoped that the adrenaline would kick in as is often the case once I get on the starting grid.
I had a decent start, down into the cobbled, boutique lined mall of the town centre, amassed with eager Italian fans. A series of right, right, left, right, left corners completed the bulk of the technical aspects of the course, and within 2km I was winding up in the first long stretch of 10km, a very slight drag. Somewhere, my legs didn't obey my brain and instinct. Heartrate was flying, but the legs weren't. I couldn't get it going, get the spring wound up. Typically a 'pedaller' as far as time trials go, I was literally grinding right from the start. I couldn't fire the legs up enough to spin and conserve energy, and clunked the lever down into the 53/14 to try to gain some driving momentum. I was holding the pace from strength alone, not speed. As I neared the first turn at 8km, I was steady and very smooth but that was about it. I knew I was pedalling at about 90rpm, as opposed to the usual 95-105rpm that characterises a good 'Tracey time trial'. Darn! Still, on with it.
I navigated the mid-section smoothly gliding through the bends, taking the shortest line all the time and minimising the braking and surges. The turn into the last 10km stretch was the crunch point. Now was the time to really wind it up, if I could. I knew there were several other riders on similar time splits. I sat on 50+km/hr but was still grinding away. I couldn't lift the pace, just motored along in a huge gear hoping to maintain momentum. This was a fast course, and it had to be ridden fast, with speed, not just strength. I was not on a great day. The finish line wasn't far. Only a couple more turns and a 400m cobbled straight to the finish. Keep driving, driving, driving. Over. I finished 15th with an average of 45+ km/hr knowing that I can ride 48+km/hr on a good day.
It was a great boost in spirits to sit with Anna after she had crossed the line and wait for the outcome of the final few riders. We knew she had medalled - what a buzz. Silver, by only 4 seconds! What an absolute gem she was, demolishing the field along with Van-Moorsel. A true champion and as far as I was concerned, Anna's effort was worth a gold in my books. She had targetted this event for a long while and it paid off.
Later we analysed our prognostics from the time trial, and yes the ride was way below my optimum pedalling rate, and the power was much less than that on a 'good day'. Of course I am bitterly disappointed, knowing that I was way off my potential. All in the timing I guess, and the legacy of an extremely long season with an excessive volume of top-level tour racing has taken the spark out of my fire. It's been such a boomer of a season, that it naturally hurts not to be able to maintain the steady flow of results time and time again. Still, I was not alone looking at the result sheet. Always learning, and this year has certainly been educational. Now to re-focus for this Saturday - yep I'm still hungry! Stay tuned for the Aussie onslaught!
Results (official times, etc. can be found here):
1 Leontien Van Moorsel 2 Anna Wilson 3 Edita Pucinskaite ... 10 Kathy Watt 15 Tracey Gaudry