Conquer the Canal Time Trial Race Report

The first race of 2014 was Conquer the Canal Time Trial, held on the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail, Chesapeake, VA, a flat 12.1 mile out-and-back course, Saturday, April 5, 2014. Weather was ideal: temperature was 68 degrees, humidity was 46 percent, and a steady 10 mph wind from the west/northwest (crosswind based on the course’s north-south orientation).

My biggest challenge was pre-race. I was unable to complete my full 56-minute warmup. Got to the race at 7:10 am, after driving for over 3.5 hours. Registration opened at 7:00 am and the promoter had scheduled the juniors’ races to start at 7:30 am. So, they were allowed to jump to the front of the registration line. By the time I was able to register, get back to my bike, and start my warmup, it was 7:54 am. My starting time was 8:31 am. Only had enough time for a partial, 20-minute, warmup, pushing my HR up to only Z3 (tempo). With my full warmup, I would have pushed my HR up to Z4/5 (race-pace). Probably cost me a faster finishing time and average speed.

My new Shiv time trial bike was comfortable and my latest bike fitting was perfect. Only had to focus on the road ahead and maintaining my speed. Cadence in my 52 x 16 gear was a bit low at 88 RPM; training has been at 90-95 RPM. My average HR was 89%; max HR was 92%. Average speed was 23.5 mph; max finishing speed was 26.7 mph.

Race replay: Conquer the Canal Time Trial

This was the third consecutive year that I’ve entered this particular race. Last year, I finished in 0:31:59 (22.70 mph average); weight was 185 pounds. This year, I finished in 0:30:51 for 10th place overall (the promoter combined my current age group with my former age group) out of 25 finishers. I finished in 2nd place in my new age group out of seven finishers. My reduced weight of 173 pounds probably contributed heavily (pardon the pun) to my speed increase.

To challenge for the win next year, I’ll have to drop another 12-15 pounds, which is my goal for the balance of this season, and, focus on pushing the 52 x 15 gear at 95 RPM (25.7 mph) on the trainer. To date, I’ve been training at 90 RPM (24.4 mph) cadence on the trainer. These are two very useful data points from the first race of the season.