2016 Race Report #7: That Dam Time Trial

My seventh race of 2016 was That Dam Time Trial, held in Parkton, MD, on Sunday, July 24, on a thrice shortened out-and-back course that was 18.4 miles of either ascending or descending hills. To characterize this course as hilly would be an understatement. It was 1,500 feet of climbing and descending. There were no flat sections of road.

The original race distance was 50 kilometers (31.06 miles), which was shortened to 20.7 miles due to unplanned road repairs. Then, the promoter shortened the course again last night by two miles due to safety concerns at the turn-around point. The weather was hot and humid: temperature was 86 degrees (heat index 99 degrees) with humidity at 70 percent at 9:00 AM. (My start time was 9:18 AM.) The wind was calm.

There was an even split between competitors racing with road bikes or time trial bikes. Since this was my first time on this particular course, and I had heard reports of really rough, and steep, sections of road, I opted for my road bike. I switched the rear wheel to one with a larger cassette to help with climbing. A typical rear cassette for a nine-speed drivetrain is 12-23 teeth. The one I brought was 11-32 teeth.

Due to the heat, I did an abbreviated warmup of 20 minutes on the course to get a feel for descending and ascending with the bigger rear cassette gearing. Unlike last week’s race with 20 competitors registered in my age-group race, there were only five competitors in my age group for this race. Two of them were my primary competitors for the time trial series championship. The other two were not in contention for the championship.

My speed varied from four miles per hour, on climbs that were as steep as 11 percent grade, to over 35 miles per hour descending a 11 percent grade. I could have hit over 40 miles per hour descending, but deliberately slowed on most of the steeper downhills sections due to the rough road surface and my unfamiliarity with the course.

Race replay: That Dam Time Trial

The winning time for my age group was 0:57:47 (19.10 mph average) by Matty P. Second place went to Jim H. in 1:01:59 (17.81 mph average). I finished in third place in 1:08:28 (16.1 mph average). This was only my third podium finish so far this season out of seven races. I still have three more races on my schedule. Two are local races in mid-September. The last race is October 1 in Delaware, the final race in the time trial series championship competition.