2019 Race Report #7: State 20 KM Time Trial Championship

My seventh race of 2019 was the USA Cycling (USAC) Wisconsin State Age-Group Time Trial Championship. This event consisted of three distinct races on the same course. The first event, which was sanctioned by USAC, featured 44 competitors (including me). After my group had started, the next event, the 14th race of the MidAmerica Time Trial Series (MATTS) queued up 30 competitors at the start line. Once the MATTS group was on the course, the third event, part of the WiSport Time Trial Series, queued up an additional 25 competitors.

The weather was hot and humid with a steady wind from the southwest at 17 mph. The temperature at my 9:06 AM start time was 86 degrees (felt like 97 degrees) with 75 percent humidity. Keeping sufficiently hydrated was more important than a full warmup. I reduced my warmup to several easy laps of the local streets around a park.

The lollipop-shaped course was 18 kilometers (11.1 miles) in length. After a slight downhill stretch of a mile from the start line, the course started a steady rise over the next 6.5 miles, culminating in a hilltop section with an eight percent grade. I had to pedal out-of-the-saddle at 3.5 mph to reach the crest. The final four miles of the course was a steady downhill descent where I reach speeds of 40 mph.

My heart rate averaged 132 beats per minute (BPM) with a maximum of 139 BPM, above my lactate threshold of 130 BPM. My cadence averaged 93 revolutions per minute (RPM), with a maximum of 121 RPM. My power numbers were just below threshold: 205 watts (212 watts threshold), 467 watts maximum.

I entered this particular race because I wanted to improve my USAC national rankings. In order to get a ranking score, there needed to be at least three competitors in my age group. From the registration information, there appeared to be three competitors entered in my age group. The first competitor started at 9:05 AM, one minute ahead of me, while the second competitor started at 9:05:30 AM, 30 seconds in front of me. I would attempt to pass both of these individuals during the race to claim the state championship title.

I passed my “30-second-man” within the first mile of my race. He had notified me prior to the start that he was still recovering from an injury. It took me until the crest of the big hill to pass my “1-minute man.” After the race, he told me that he was really suffering and thought he would have to walk his bike over the top of the hill when I “just blew past him.”

I pushed my downhill speed to almost 40 mph coming off the hill and continued at top speed all the way to the finish line. My “1-minute man” crossed the finish line 19 seconds after me. My margin of victory was 1:19.

My time was 0:32:34.6 (20.4 mph average) for first place. What I didn’t know at the start line or during the race was that both of “my competitors” were actually in the next older age group, not mine. I raced nobody. I won the championship because I finished the race.

Race replay: USAC State 20 KM Time Trial Championship

My next race is Saturday, August 3, on the flat 20 KM course in Harvard, IL, the site of my second race of the season.