2020 Race Report #12: Rock River Multisport 20 KM Time Trial

My 12th race of 2020 was the second outdoor race of the season and the replacement for the April 26th race postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing was observed by expanding the start times between riders from the usual 30-seconds to 10 minutes. Each racer self-started because there were no officials at the start or finish lines. Instead, finishers were instructed to record their race with a GPS device and upload it to Strava for verification and awards.

The weather was hot, humid, and windy at my 10:00 a.m. start time: 82 degrees (felt like 88 degrees), 81 percent humidity, and wind at 12.5 mph from the SSW. The wind direction meant a headwind on the outbound leg of the 12.10 mile course. There were five entries in my age-group.

I started right on time and quickly accelerated to 22 mph into the outbound headwind. I only averaged 19.65 mph for the first 6.4 miles before turning around on the out-and-back course. With a tailwind, my average speed increased to 22.0 mph for the 5.8 miles to the finish. My official time was 0:35:22 (20.6 mph) and a second place finish. The winning time was 0:33:29 (21.28 mph).

I had fixed the connection to the power pedals on my race bike after the last race, but the readings were widely inaccurate. I recorded professional level power numbers between 400 and 600 watts while on the course. I had failed to update my crank length nor calibrated the pedals before the race. I again had to rely solely on my heart rate reading, which was consistently at, or slightly above, my lactate threshold. And, I still have not been able to schedule a time to get my new aerobar extensions installed, followed by an updated bike fitting. This would have improved my aerodynamics into the outbound headwind.

I was well prepared for the heat and humidity. I started sipping 16 oz of energy drink during the 90 minute drive to the race site. I carried 16 oz of a hyperhydration drink to consume during my warmup, plus 16 oz of protein recovery drink for post-race, an additional 16 oz of energy drink, and 16 oz of plain water. I calculated that I lost 5 pounds of water weight to sweat, which is a 3% loss, enough to impair aerobic performance. A 2% loss is sufficient for dehydration. It could have been much worse if I hadn’t worn my white speedsuit, white shoe covers, white aero sleeves, white gloves, and white aero helmet. The entire race course was exposed to direct sunlight.

Race replay: Rock River Multisport 20 KM Time Trial.

UPDATE: The next live race is the Stray Kats Kankakee 20 KM Time Trial on Sunday, July 26, which I raced last year to my first victory of the season in 0:37:31 (20.57 mph). Due to the 5 hours of round trip driving to Kankakee and the expected hot and humid weather, I have decided to race this event virtually for the second time this season. The first time was on May 17, 2020, with a time of 0:31:23 (23.00 mph).