My first time trial race of 2018 was the Virginia Senior Games, held in Richmond, VA, on Saturday, May 19, 2018. (This was actually the third race of the season. I did not start the first and second race due to a combination of adverse weather conditions.) It had been raining for the past week and the forecast was for only light rain during the race. The temperature was 70 degrees (felt like 64 degrees) and humidity was 99 percent. There was a steady 10 mph wind from the south (headwind outbound based on the course’s north-south orientation).
It did not rain during my 20 minute warmup on my portable trainer. I used the same warmup routine that I perform before my indoor power trainer workouts. This routine gradually increases my heart rate every two minutes until it is at 100% of my racing threshold. The rain started to fall just before the first rider started on the course and did not stop until all the competitors had finished racing.
The organizers had to modify the course due to the flooding that had occured over the past week. They eliminated a section with multiple-turns through a parking lot. Consequently, rather than a single lap, they compensated by having us do two laps of the shortened course. This meant that we would have to contend with the headwind twice. There was also standing water at the turnaround point that required careful navigation.
I knew, from my research, that last year’s winner in my age group had averaged 21.30 mph for a time of 0:08:45. I felt confident that I could beat that time. Unfortunately, he had gotten a lot faster after an improvement in his position on his bike. His winning time was 0:08:02 at almost 24 mph average. I finished second with a time of 0:8:43 at just over 22 mph average. The rain and strong headwind outbound were significant factors in my performance. My average speed into the headwind was roughly 23 mph, while my average speed with the tailwind was over 26 mph. I crossed the finish line at 28 mph.
Race replay: Virginia Senior Games Time Trial.
This race was a state qualifier for the 2019 National Senior Games in Albuquerque, NM, where I’m eligible to compete in both 5 kilometer and 10-kilometer time trial events. However, it is doubtful I will be participating in this event until it returns to a location that is within a single day’s driving distance. When I participated in the 2015 National Senior Games in Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN, the 1,152 mile drive took 17 hours. Albuquerque is a 27 hour (1,891 mile) drive away.
There was one other takeaway from this event. Next year, I move into the next older age group. My finishing time was faster than all of the competitors in that age group.