2018 Race Report #2: Church Creek Time Trial No. 1

My second race of 2018 was the Church Creek Time Trial No. 1, held in Church Creek, MD, on Saturday, June 30, on a 20 kilometer (12.42 miles) flat out-and-back course that I’ve raced on seven times over the past four years. The weather was hot: temperature at my start time of 8:51 AM was 84 degrees (felt like 88 degrees), humidity was 62 percent, and the wind was from the west at 5 mph (a cross wind most noticeable inbound on the course’s north-south orientation).

I learned my lesson about adequate hydration on hot race days from my experience at USAC Masters Nationals last year in Augusta, GA. I brought several bottles filled with water and a bottle filled with an extreme hydration mix. My time trial bike has a cavity in the frame for a water bladder, which I installed and filled with enough water to fill another bottle.

I completed my warmup in two parts. The first part was a structured 20 minute routine on my trainer. I consumed half of the bottle with the extreme hydration mix during this warmup. The second part was a 5.5 mile/16 minute transfer from the parking lot at the race registration site to the startline. I added a couple of short, race-pace efforts during the transfer ride. As soon as I reached the startline, I consumed a 90-calories energy gel and drank better than half of the water from my bike’s bladder.

There were 19 competitors registered in my age group race. Eighteen showed up and raced. I was the second racer to start. With the tailwind outbound, I knew that I could maintain a slightly higher speed. I started out conservatively for the first couple of minutes, then settled into a cadence of 100 rpm and speed between 24-25 mph. I was able to maintain my target heart rate of 140 bpm and power level of over 200 watts for the entire race. But after the turn-around and to the 8-mile mark, the headwind (and the heat/humidity) started to take its toll. My average speed slowly dropped all the way to the finish line.

Race replay: Church Creek Time Trial No. 1

I finished ninth out of 18 competitors. But, I was more disappointed with my slow average speed. This was my third 20 kilometer race at Church Creek (out of the last four) with a 22-23 mph average speed. All of my previous race results have been two minutes faster with a 23-24 mph average speed.

The winning time was 0:30:02 (24.82 mph). My time was 0:33:14 (22.43 mph). Interestingly, all of the podium finishers failed to finish in less than 30 minutes. In the past several races at Church Creek, they would have finishing times around 28 minutes with average speeds between 25-26 mph.

My next time trial is a hilly 37 mile (50 kilometer) race around a reservoir on Sunday, July 22.