Shenandoah Time Trial Race Report

My sixth race of 2014 was the Shenandoah Time Trial, held in Shenandoah, VA, on a hilly 13.9 mile loop course, on Saturday, July 26. The weather was warm and humid at my 9:10:00 a.m. start time: temperature was over 70 degrees, humidity was 100 percent, and the wind was calm.

The promoter had posted the course profile on the Map My Ride website and I had ridden the longer 40 km course last year, so I knew what to expect. Like my last race, my biggest challenge would be shifting gears efficiently to keep my pedaling cadence in the 90-95 RPM range as I dealt with the fluctuating grade changes along the course. I finished an abbreviated 40 minute warmup so that I didn’t get overheated or dehydrated.

There were seven competitors registered in my age group race, but only five showed up. I was familiar with three of them. My main competition was John C., who was slotted to start immediately ahead of me, my “30-second man.” He had beaten me by a minute at Church Creek. If I could close that time gap, or pass him, I could win this race. If not, I would have to settle for second place.

The start and the first two miles of the course were uphill, so I started at a moderate pace in my small chainring at a high cadence. Once the course leveled off, I shifted to my big chainring and started pushing my biggest gears at speeds in excess of 30 mph. I repeated this approach on the second hill, which included grades of over six percent. Unfortunately, I never closed the gap to John. I saw him only after I had crossed the finish line. As he and I rode back to our cars together, I asked him how he had done. He said, “38 minutes.” Since I had finished in roughly 40 minutes, I knew that I would have to settle for second place.

In fact, that is what the official results showed. He finished first in 0:38:10 (21.85 mph) to my 0:40:15 (20.72 mph). The third place time was 0:43:14 (19.29 mph). This is only the second of five races that John and I will face each other this season. The next one is in three weeks for the regional time trial championship on the flat, fast Church Creek course.

Race Replay: Shenandoah Time Trial