2017 Race Scheduled Reconsidered
My poor performance at Masters Nationals last week forced me to reconsider the balance of this season’s race schedule.
I consulted a trusted spine surgeon yesterday about the possibility of correcting my shoulder slouch, which would improve my aero position on the bike. He said that such a surgery was too risky to attempt and would not significantly improve my aero position on the bike if successful. The aero tuck position on a time trial bike can account for over 30 percent of the total time reduction during a race. At Masters Nationals, the time difference between the first 10 finishers in my age group was only 58 seconds. There is a huge premium placed on being as aerodynamic as humanly possible. The inescapable truth is that I cannot be competitive at the national or regional level at this time.
My surgeon said that my spine condition was vastly better than the typical patients he examines with the same condition. This was the result of my body weight reduction (45 pounds lost since 2013) and my year-round training schedule. He strongly encouraged me to continue with both. So, I’ve instructed my coach to prepare me for two events at the state/local level, where I can still be competitive, and a much longer endurance ride of 100 miles, which is a big factor in my efforts to lose 10 more pounds of body weight: 2017 Race Schedule.
My coach and I will re-evaluate my competitiveness at the national level when I move into the next older Masters age group in 2019. As for the regional races, I will consider racing them again when the race promoters stop lumping all of the older Masters competitors in age groups of 10 years or more, rather than the five-year age groups used at Masters Nationals and State Age-Graded Championships.