Church Creek #1 Time Trial Race Report

My third race of 2015 was the Church Creek Time Trial, held in Cambridge, MD, on Saturday, May 30, on a 20 kilometer (12.42 mile) flat, out-and-back course. The weather was warm and windy; temperature was 77 degrees, humidity was 74 percent, and the wind was from the south at 10 mph. I completed my 24 minute warmup successfully, and rode the 5.5 miles to the start line with about 10 minutes to spare. My goal for this race was to try to earn a podium finish, and work on increasing my cadence in the 53 x 16 gear. I planned to be conservative for the outbound leg of the race into the steady headwind. Then, with the tailwind, hammer to the finish line with nothing to spare.

I started third, out of 17 competitors. I smoothly accelerated away from the start line and quickly passed the two riders who started ahead of me. My closest rival, Jim H., started three riders (90 seconds) behind me. I settled into my 53 x 17 gear at 90 RPM cadence for an average speed of roughly 22 mph. My heart rate was at 105 percent of threshold. There was no shelter from the headwind. I reached the turnaround in 0:17:05 (21.82 mph average).

But, as soon as I started the return leg, I shifted into my 53 x 16 gear, increased my cadence to 100 RPM, and steadily accelerated to 25 mph, 26 mph, 27 mph, 28 mph, 29 mph, and over 30 mph as I crossed the finish line. My time for the return leg was 0:13:56 (26.75 mph average).

I felt nothing but elation after crossing the finish line. I was also grateful for my coach who added a weekly workout to increase my cadence at race pace. Since no one had passed me, I thought I had a chance of making the podium. Stuart R. won in 0:28:52 (25.83 mph average), Jim H. took second in 0:30:39 (24.34 mph average), and I took third place with 0:31:01 (24.0 mph average – a personal best for this course), only 22 seconds behind him.

Race Replay: Church Creek #1 Time Trial

Overall, I am ecstatic with this performance. With a six weeks to go until National Senior Games, I am closing in on my sole rival’s best time for the 10 km time trial of 0:14:33 (25.62 mph average). Since there is no reliable way to determine the exact impact of the inbound tailwind, I will continue my training plan to sustain over 26 mph when I race against him in July.