2016 Race Report #2: Argyle Time Trial

My second race of 2016 was the Argyle Time Trial, held in Charles Town, WV, on Saturday, April 16, on a 28 kilometer (17.39 miles) rolling hill loop course that was described by the promoter as “…brutal! Plenty of rolling terrain and rough roads to loosen your fillings. Typical West Virginia roads.” Last year’s race distance was 30 kilometers (18.64 miles). Not sure why the course was shortened this year.

The weather was ideal: temperature was 54 degrees, humidity was 47 percent, and the wind was from the north-northeast at 4 mph. I completed my warmup in two parts. The first part was a structured 30 minute routine on my trainer. The second part was a four mile/15 minute transfer from the race registration site to the race start line. I added a couple of short, race-pace efforts during the transfer ride. Unlike last year, I arrived at the start line unconcerned about whether or not I should have switched my front and rear aero wheels from a full discs to partial discs. In hindsight, despite the low windspeed, I should have switched because I was frequently buffeted by the wind throughout the race.

I started first, out of 11 competitors, in my age group. I smoothly accelerated away from the start line and powered up two short hills. One rival started one minute behind me, while the others started four minutes or more behind me. No one passed me during my ride. Unlike last year, I was much smoother shifting for the variety of hills on the course. While I felt that I was faster than last year, my time, 0:47:34 (21.96 mph), was only good enough for fourth place. I missed a podium finish by 21 seconds. The winning time was 0:45:44 (22.82 mph). Second place was taken by a newcomer, a national championship podium finisher and a teammate of the race winner, with a time of 0:46:48 (22.30 mph). The third place finisher’s time was 0:47:13 (22.10 mph).

Race replay: Argyle Time Trial

I was disappointed with my result. I was a mile-per-hour faster last year on a slightly longer course with far stronger wind speeds. This year, I was almost 10 pounds lighter (158.2 vs. 167.8) and had been training hard for the past two months at race pace during my power interval workouts. In hindsight, the only thing I should have done differently was to drive harder up the hills in the big chainring. There was plenty of time to recover on the downhill sections.

My next race on a hilly course is the Shenandoah Time Trial (22.25 km) on Saturday, June 25. But, first, I have to take a week off the bike to recover from gall bladder removal surgery on Wednesday, April 20. Then, I have time to gradually get back up to race fitness for two short time trials on flat courses.