Church Creek Time Trial Race Report

The fourth race of 2014 was the Church Creek 20 km Time Trial, held near Cambridge, MD, on a flat out-and-back course, on Saturday, June 21. Rain was forecast with a 60 percent probability. Except for two brief, isolated periods of sprinkles, the sky remained overcast with temperatures in the mid-70’s, humidity was 100 percent, and the wind was reported as calm.

I completed my warmup in two parts. The first part was a structured 25 minute routine on my trainer. The second part was a 5.5 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. I arrived at the start line comfortably sweating.

The number of competitors in my age group was three times larger (15 individuals) than my last race. They came from Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Illinois. I started third and smoothly accelerated to 24 mph at 90-95 RPM cadence. My heart rate was stable at 90% MHR. I quickly passed the riders who started 30 seconds and one minute ahead of me. In fact, I started passing riders in other age groups who had started minutes ahead of my age-group. Halfway to the turn-around, I was cruising comfortably at close to 25 mph.

Approaching the turn-around, the rider who started 30 seconds behind me passed me. He had to be going well over 25 mph. I gave chase, but discovered the real reason for my ease at maintaining 24-25 mph and his high speed. My cell phone’s weather app had reported the wind as calm. In fact, it was 5 mph from the northeast, a tailwind outbound and a headwind inbound. That light headwind was strong enough to reduce my average speed to 23-24 mph, as illustrated in the race replay below.

As soon as he passed me, I knew I was racing for second, third, or fourth place. I had already identified a couple of guys in my age group who were capable of averaging 23-24 mph. Turned out that one of them did a lot worse than expected, while another one did much better than expected. The guy who passed me took the win in 0:30:24 (24.52 mph), second place was 0:30:31 (24.43 mph), and I took third place in 0:31:25 (23.73 mph), an identical average speed to my last race.

Race replay: Church Creek #1 Time Trial

Overall, I’m pleased with this effort. I was clearly competitive against individuals who have been racing for decades. My next race is not for five weeks, which gives me time to complete this tapering/racing training period. Then, I’ll have seven races in seven weeks, including the regional time trial championship on this same course in mid-August against the same group of competitors. I’m looking forward to the rematch.