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2016 CFL Holiday TT Series #1: Race Report

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

January
19
2016

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.

Each rider is started 1 minute apart. Here I am in the starting queue (second back, Team KBS skinsuit), focused for my first TT race!

Each rider is started 1 minute apart. Here I am in the starting queue (second back, Team KBS skinsuit), focused for my first TT race!

A quick smile moments before launch. It's almost impossible to not look like a dork in a TT helmet.

A quick smile moments before launch. It’s almost impossible to not look like a dork in a TT helmet.

 

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. 🙂

My data from the first half of the race. We had a tailwind going out, and my average speed was close to 29 MPH. Average wattage was right where I wanted it to be: 300 watts.

My data from the first half of the race. We had a tailwind going out, and my average speed was close to 29 MPH. Average wattage was right where I wanted it to be: 300 watts.

 

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:

We had an 11+ MPH headwind coming back. My average wattage output coming back (301 watts) was virtually identical to what I laid down during the outbound leg, so it was a very consistent effort. I was hoping to be closer to 310 watts coming back, but overall I'm happy with how I performed.

We had an 11+ MPH headwind coming back. My average wattage output coming back (301 watts) was virtually identical to what I laid down during the outbound leg, so it was a very consistent effort. I was hoping to be closer to 310 watts coming back, but overall I’m happy with how I performed.

 

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:

My power, heart rate and cadence data from the race

My power, heart rate and cadence data from the race

 

Here’s a shot of me coming across the finish line:

Coming across the finish line after a solid hour in the hurt locker.

Coming across the finish line after a solid hour in the hurt locker.

 

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):

Men's 40k 40-49: I took first place (C), second place went to Steve Decker (L), and third place went to Josh Drew (not pictured, he had to leave before the awards ceremony).

Men’s 40k 40-49: I took first place (C), second place went to Steve Decker (L), and third place went to Josh Drew (not pictured, he had to leave before the awards ceremony).

 

Mens 40k 40-49 podium: 1st place

Mens 40k 40-49 podium: 1st place

 

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:

Top 3 Men's 40k overall rankings: 2nd place. It was a close race!

Top 3 Men’s 40k overall rankings: 2nd place. It was a close race!

 

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.

John Stone Fitness Comments

24 Responses to “2016 CFL Holiday TT Series #1: Race Report”
  1. Congrats John! Great read! I couldn’t wait to see your time and power over 40k during a race setting. I think about your time in the saddle, amount of hard work, and attention to detail, and it really shows what it takes to be able to break an hour. Freaking awesome!

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  2. Phenomenal effort. As has already been said, it’s no surprise to those of us who’ve followed your training efforts, but it’s awesome to see those efforts come to fruition! I wish I could use the “clap” emoji from the forums here. 🙂

    I’m going to assume the second-place guy didn’t race in the garb we see him wearing in the awards ceremony, right? Because if so … zowee. 🙂

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    • Thanks very much, volleyball! Yes, the guy who got second changed his clothes after the race. 🙂

      I wanted to to change into something warmer, too (it was cold just standing around in Lycra), but I wanted to have KBS colors flying if I made the podium.

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  3. John, well deserved. Nice work.

    I know a year or two from now you’ll be traveling the country crushing men your age and younger in these races. Mark my words.

    Again, way to bring it.

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