Conquer the Canal Time Trial Race Report

My first race of 2015 was the Conquer the Canal Time Trial, held on the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, Chesapeake, VA, a flat 12.1 mile out-and-back course, Saturday, March 28, 2015. The weather was terrible: temperature was 41 degrees (32 degrees wind chill) with a steady 10-15 mph wind from the west/northwest (crosswind based on the course’s north-south orientation).

Unlike last year, I was able to successfully complete my 30-minute warmup and had plenty of time to add several layers of warm clothing. My biggest concern was the wind’s effect on my speed, especially on the inbound leg into a headwind. Since I am unable to lower my upper torso into an optimal aerodynamic profile, I am at a disadvantage to many of my rivals in windy conditions.

I started out at 23-24 mph, and was able to maintain a cadence of 90-95 RPM and heart rate around 140 BPM (103% MHR) outbound. However, despite maintaining this cadence and heart rate inbound, my speed gradually slowed to 20-21 mph into the strong headwind. My finishing sprint was at 26.4 mph.

Race replay: Conquer the Canal Time Trial

This was the fourth consecutive year that I’ve entered this particular race. Two years ago, I finished in 0:31:59 (22.70 mph average). Last year, I finished in 0:30:51 (23.53 mph average). This year, I took first place, out of nine finishers, with a time of 0:31:47 (22.84 mph average), just a bit faster than two years ago, but 56 seconds slower than last year. The second place finisher completed the course in 0:33:00, a minute and 13 seconds slower than me. This is my 16th consecutive podium finish going back to September 2013.

Next race is a hilly 30 km time trial, over rural roads of very poor quality, near Charles Town, WV, on Saturday, May 2.