2016 Race Report #8: NVSO Time Trials

My eighth and ninth races of 2016 were part of the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics, the same venue where I achieved my first win in 50 years in 2013, and was a double gold medalist in 2014 and 2015. This year, rather than the rolling hills loop course through the rural Virginia countryside that had been used for the past three years, the new course wound through and around an abandoned military installation in a new community. It was mostly flat with several small rolling hills and several high-speed 90-degree corners though a residential neighborhood.

The weather was warm and windy. Temperature was 75 degrees, humidity was 85 percent, and the wind was from the northwest at 8 mph gusting to 12 mph when I started my first race around 8:20 a.m.

In the first race, a single lap of the 10 km (6.2 miles) course, it turns out that I was the sole competitor in my age group. The guy who has finished second to me for the past several years moved up to the next older age group, where he won both of his races. My goal this year was simple: repeat as a double gold medalist for the third consecutive year.

Over the past several weeks, I had ridden seven laps of the course, including race rehearsals of both distances on consecutive Sundays, which I completed without the aid of any aero gear. My coach then analyzed the results and formulated a race strategy with target heart rates and cadences for various sections of the course. In addition, my interval power training for the past several weeks has focused on strengthening my lactate tolerance for these races. And it paid off.

Within the first three minutes of the race, according to coach’s plan, I was to increase my heart rate to just above lactate threshold, roughly 136 BPM (105% of my functional threshold of 132 BPM). My cadence target was 88-92 RPM. In actuality, at the end of three minutes, my heart rate was at 147 BPM (111% of threshold) and solidly anaerobic. I was able to hold this level of effort for the entire race and finished in 0:15:42 (23.75 mph average) for the win and one of the fastest times of the day. Top speed was almost 33 mph and maximum heart rate reached 152 BPM.

Race replay: NVSO 10 KM Time Trial

In the second race, two laps of the 10 KM loop (12.4 miles), I repeated coach’s strategy. I also had the winner of the next younger age group for the 10 km race starting 30 seconds ahead of me. My 10 km race time was significantly faster than his, so he and I knew that I would catch him, probably on the second lap. That’s what happened. I passed him at the eight-mile mark. He told me later that my passing him “woke him up.” He chased after me and pulled alongside me about 100 meters from the finish line. We sprinted for the line together and I beat him by roughly a bike length. My winning time was 0:31:31 (23.66 mph average), again one of the fastest times of the day. Top speed increased to 33.7 mph and maximum heart rate reached 154 BPM.

Race replay: NVSO 20 KM Time Trial

These were my two fastest times of the season and indicate that I’m ready for an even faster effort in three weeks at the last race of the season.