2016 CFL Holiday TT Series #1: Race Report
Yesterday I competed in my very first time trial race–the first race of the 2016 CFL Holiday TT series–and the entire experience was an absolute blast!
A total of 38 athletes participated in yesterday’s race: 30 men, and 8 women.
It was a fairly cool morning, with temperatures hovering in the upper 40s at the start of the race. A stiff 10-11 MPH wind from the north made it feel a little colder than it actually was.
There were different waves based on race distance (20k or 40k), age group, and sex. My group–Men’s 40-49 40k–started rolling out just before 9:30 am.
In a time trial there is no drafting allowed. The time trial is often called the “Race of Truth”. This is because race tactics don’t factor in: it’s just the athlete, his or her bike and the clock. The fastest cyclist wins.
Waves are sent off one cyclist at a time, with one minute separating each athlete. If you pass a cyclist that started in front of you, you are not allowed to draft as you do so. I made a few passes yesterday, and I always pulled well off to the side long before I entered the other athlete’s slipstream. Failure to adhere to this rule can get you disqualified.
I’ll pepper this report with a few photos. All photos are credited to John Will Tenney, race director.
I felt good yesterday. No ailments, injuries or other issues. Energy level was solid, I felt strong. I couldn’t have asked for better weather, as I love riding when it’s cool outside. My bike was running phenomenally well. In other words, there was no excuse for me to not set some new personal records during this race!
The 40k (24.8 mile) course was a 12.4 mile out-and-back stretch of straight, flat road. We had a nice tailwind for the outbound leg of the race, and then turned around to face a stiff headwind for the second half. I knew that the temptation to go out too hard would be there–especially with the tailwind–so I relied on my power meter to keep my wild horses in check.
My current FTP is 309, so my strategy was to average 300 watts going out, and then come back around 310 watts. I’ve been doing lots of negative split training, and so I felt like this was a solid plan.
A negative split is simply doing the second half of a TT faster than the first half. Of course wind speed and wind direction affects speed, so the real idea is to put out more power during the second half of the race than the first.
I averaged 300 watts on the nose going out, and my average speed was 28.9 MPH. The excitement of the race combined with the tailwind made me want to go faster, but I held back and stuck to my plan. I knew that once I turned into the headwind I was going to need my horses. 🙂
Turning into the headwind after flying along at 29-30 MPH was like a punch in the mouth! As I rode into the wind, I kept a close eye on my watts. A few miles into the return trip I was very glad that I resisted the urge to bury myself going out. Even though I was still putting out 300 watts, the wind made it feel much, much harder.
Folks, this is exactly why training and racing with a power meter is so, well… powerful! Boiled down to its essence, a power meter is simply a very effective pacing tool.
I averaged 301 watts on the return leg:
My official time was 59m19s, with an average speed of 25.1 MPH. My average wattage output was 300, and that’s a new 1-hour power personal record for me. I also set new 30 minute and 45 minute power PRs yesterday. I averaged 296 watts for nearly 70 minutes on a recent training ride, so it was nice to break my 1-hour wattage PR again yesterday.
Here’s my data from the race:
Here’s a shot of me coming across the finish line:
I knew some heavy hitters were going to be racing yesterday, and so I wasn’t really sure how I’d fare with regards to making the podium. I was very happy, and slightly shocked, when I learned that I took first place in my age group (click any image to enlarge):
I was even more surprised when I found out that I took second place in the overall standings, right between WSC powerhouses Kevin Clark and Peter Telep:
KBS teammates Kyle Markel and Ryan Seebeck went 1-2 (40k) in their age group, KBS junior Hunter Smith took 1st place (20k) in his age group, and KBS Kat Tara Smith took 1st place (20k) in her age group. Team KBS was well represented yesterday!
What an awesome day! I can’t wait for the next one. I’m going to train harder than ever, I know I can do even better for my second race.
Special thanks to:
John Will Tenney: Race director
Willie Thomas: Registration and timing
Bob Tyler: Starter holder
Christy Markel: Timing and scoring
Kyle Markel: Owner, Kyle’s Bike Shop/Sponsor
Sheriff deputies Steve, Tommy and Sol: Safety and security
Reminder–you can find all my ride and race reports in the “Cycling” selection from the main menu bar.