2016 Race Report #3: Church Creek #1 Time Trial

My third race of 2016 was the Church Creek #1 Time Trial, held in Church Creek, MD, on Saturday, May 21, on a 20 kilometer (12.42 miles) flat out-and-back course that I’ve raced on twice a season for the past five years. The weather was terrible: temperature was 55 degrees, humidity was 100 percent (steady rain), and the wind was from the north at 10 mph gusting to 19 mph. This race was a late substitution for the originally scheduled 5 kilometer time trial for Virginia Senior Games, on a 14-corner criterium course, which would have been too dangerous in these kind of weather conditions.

I completed my warmup in two parts. The first part was a structured 20 minute routine on my trainer. The second part was a five mile/16 minute transfer from the parking lot at the race registration site. I added a couple of short, race-pace efforts during the transfer ride. I arrived at the start line with a minimal aero wheel on the front of my bike and a full aero wheel on the rear.

There were 15 competitors registered in my age group race. Only 10 of them showed up. One of the five no-shows actually showed up, but I saw him riding back to his car rather than attempt to race in the rain and wind.

With the tailwind, I knew that I could maintain a slightly higher speed outbound, which I did. I started out conservatively for the first couple of minutes, then increased my cadence to 100 rpm and speed to almost 26 mph. While it didn’t feel like it at the time (probably because of the steady rain), I hit a wall of sorts at the 11 minute mark (around 5-6 km). This clearly shows up on my data chart. I struggled the rest of the way outbound to keep my pace high to the turnaround. Then, with the full force of the rain and the gusting headwind, I really had to bear down to finish the race.

Race replay: Church Creek #1 Time Trial

Of course, the conditions were far from ideal and I was still recovering from surgery and pneumonia less four weeks ago. But, I was disappointed that I finished 6th out of 10 competitors, beaten by guys who have never beaten me before. I was a full minute and a half slower than my past four times on this course. It is fair to say that I was fit enough for a good 5km performance, but a long way from handling 20km.

The winning time was 0:30:57 (24.09 mph). My time was 0:33:15 (22.42 mph). I missed 5th place by only 7 seconds. In fact, if I had finished in any of my previous times in the last four races on this course, I would have taken second place. The time gap between 3rd place and my 6th place finish today was only 49 seconds.

My next race is a flat 20 mile course for the state time trial championship on Sunday, June 12.