Venue and Conditions
The venue has been discussed previously (as excellent for a time trial) with one change tonight, all riders were entered to run 2 laps instead of one, making the entire course length 13.9 miles.
The weather was party cloudy and not too warm, around 82 degrees, but very windy. A strong crosswind from the east blew in at 15-25 mph. This made the race very interesting. Only 15 riders showed up, which is very unusual. Typically this race draws 30 to 40 riders. Claudio Mayol volunteered to take pictures using our camera, so we got a lot of great pictures. He has shown his hidden talent as a photographer.
My Race Description
In the first race with our new sponsor on board, Hourglass Insurance Solutions, I was the first of three Masters 50+ to start, with Brian Davis and Kevin Clark right behind me. Obviously I expected to see them go by pretty quickly, as they are very fast riders. I started out with a relatively easy pace, as I had no idea how the 14 miles would treat me. Except for the first climb out of the taxiway overpass, I kept my speed at 21+ mph until the first turn. Brian caught me at 3:50 in, which was a bit discouraging. Kevin didn’t catch me until after the first turn, around 12 minutes, which was encouraging, as I noticed he isn’t blowing by me like he has in the past. I was able to keep him in sight longer, although he is still 3 or 4 mph faster than me.
The dog-leg towards the turn was downwind, and it felt great pushing it up to 25-27 mph up to the turn. Of course, turning back in to the tailwind was not so fun. I dropped below 20 mph in the beginning, but then I got a rabbit! Roger Hungerford, riding on a road bike, appeared in my cross hairs. Roger is 63 years old, very nice guy, and would definitely be faster than me if he had the aero bike and aero gear that I have. However, on his road bike, he was just a little slower than I am, and gave me something to chase. Probably made me push a little harder than I should have, as my heart rate went up to nearly max at one point, but I did manage to catch him in a slight headwind section. Keeping him at bay after that was my new goal.
One incident kind of marred the race for Roger and I, as we came up to the mid-point turn. We had one junior rider, who was being followed by him mom with blinkers on. This is OK, but taking up the entire right lane is not. As we cam under the last bridge we had to go in to the left lane to prepare for our 180 turn, and there was traffic coming from behind. We both had to slow down until traffic passed by. Probably cost us both 10 seconds at least. My suggestion is that if you are going to follow behind your junior rider that you get all the way to the left of the lane, leaving room for a rider to pass without leaving the bike lane by very much.
The second lap was painful. My saddle sores starting making their presence known. I had to stand up and shake things out a few times. Each time I did this Roger got closer. Fortunately the tailwind section helped me pull away a bit, and turning back in to the wind, my aero setup helped me stay away.
Finished strong, under my goal of 39 minutes, at 38:40.