2021 Race Report #1: Rock River Multisport 20 KM Time Trial

My first race of 2021 was my 99th consecutive time trial since June 2010. I’m starting my 12th year of age-group competition. COVID restrictions were still being observed, but the gap in start times has been shortened from five minutes to two minutes. There were officials at the start, turn-around, and finish lines, masked and socially distanced. Race numbers were mailed to competitors a week before the race date. Awards will be mailed or available at the next race.

The weather was cold and windy at my 9:44 a.m. start time: 45 degrees (felt like 38 degrees), 40 percent humidity, and steady wind at 14 mph from the Northeast. The wind direction meant a strong tailwind outbound for 6.48 miles of the 12.3 mile course, but a real obstacle to a podium finishing time on the 5.82 mile inbound leg. There were seven competitors in my age-group (an eighth competitor was a no-show).

I completed a structured 40-minute warmup on my stationary trainer before heading to the start line. I started right on time and quickly accelerated to 20+ mph. With the tailwind, I averaged 22.04 mph. With the steady headwind inbound, my average speed dropped to 19.32 mph, a considerable decrease. My official finishing time was 0:35:42 (20.7 mph) and a fourth place finish. The winning time was 0:33:18 (22.16 mph). The second and third place finishers recorded times of 0:34:46 (21.22 mph) and 0:34:51 (21.17 mph) respectively. NOTE: during a virtual rehearsal on this course earlier in the week, without any wind effects, I recorded a time of 0:32:39 (22.60 mph).

The new “praying mantis” aerobar extensions did not hinder my control of the bike in the wind conditions, as initially feared. In fact, the bike completely “disappeared” under me despite pushing big gears (53 x 17/16) with these strong wind conditions. And my recent adjustments to my position on the bike worked perfectly.

Race replay: Rock River Multisport 20 KM Time Trial

My next race, my 100th time trial, is the WBR Harvard 20 KM Time Trial, Harvard, IL, on Sunday, May 9. I’ve raced this particular course five times since August 2019, as both an individual event and team time trials.