Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rock Hill Time Trial Series

Back in 2011 I did one of the bike time trial races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  It was pretty fun.  Unfortunately, It kinda takes up the whole evening.  I went straight from work, since it's in the opposite direction from home.  So I'd been wanting to do some more time trialing.  I'm not sure why everyone seems to want to hold their 10 mile time trials on Wednesday night.  I guess because it's in the middle of the week?  I would probably have gone to another one since 2011, but I like my church group on Wednesday evenings.

This year, I decided that since I didn't have a race anytime soon after Eagleman, that I would check out the Rock Hill Time Trial Series.  It's obviously closer to the house, and I don't have to fight the traffic from home to get there.
Typical Lineup before the Start
They do quite a few of these all summer.  Actually a dozen of them from March on into September.  They keep track of points and everyone's time for every race.  It's pretty organized.   It is run by Chris and Cheryl Reinke.  Cheryl also heads up the Rock Hill Masters Swim group.  Chris was pretty good friends with a former neighbor of mine, so I know him as well.
Casual Sign In
They have a 10 mile course laid out from South Pointe High School there in Rock Hill.  The first rider is scheduled to go off at 6:30pm.  I got there about 10 to 6.  I saw Cheryl in the parking lot and headed over to sign in.  There is no cost, but a donation is accepted.  I threw some money in the kitty and then I signed the waiver.  Cheryl gave me the skinny on the evening.  Slower riders go first, so everyone finishes closer together.  I really wasn't sure where she should put me.  She said some of the faster guys go 28 mph average.  I knew I couldn't do that so I told her conservatively 24 mph average.

So she said I probably would go off until about 6:50pm.  I guess they go off every minute since there were gonna be 25 riders or so.  So I got my bike ready and headed out on a warmup.

I ran into Drew who lives in Fort Mill.  He used to do tri's, dude can swim like a fish.  This was his first time out on the tri bike in a couple of years.  We chatted for a bit and then I took off on my warmup. I just went out on the course for a couple miles and back.  I got in about 5 miles.  When I got back they were just about to start the first rider.  So I kinda hung in the back with some of the other "faster looking" guys.
Ominous Skies
We kinda waited longer than I thought we would, and the skies began darkening.  It looked pretty bad off to the east of us.  You could hear the thunder and see the occasional lightning.  Luckily the worst of it bypassed us.  Pretty soon it was time to head out.

They had a "holder", so I clipped in and got ready to go.  I was thinking that if I don't fall over in the first 5 feet, I'll be alright.  Cheryl gave me a 10 second countdown and I was off.  I hit start on the Garmin and stood up to get some speed going.

After a quick downhill most of the first mile was uphill to the first turn.  I started out pretty good with 308 watts in the first mile.  So then I had the wind at my back.  A good, strong, thunderstorm wind.  Garmin clocked me at 45.5 mph going down the hill in the second mile.  Right before the 4 mile mark and the second turn I had caught the guy who started ahead of me.

I tried to push to the 5 mile mark trying to take as much advantage of the wind as I could.  I hit the halfway point in 10:40, good for a 28.1 mph avg on 310 watts.  At 5-1/2 there is a slight uphill and then you make the next turn onto Bridgewater Road.  That's where I found the wind.

It was head and crosswind harder than I'd ever experienced before.  It was blowing pretty good from left to right.  I had to put my right hand on the horns.  Even then the gusts were pushing me over.  I started riding in the middle of the road, just trying to concentrate on pushing some watts.

Then the clouds started spitting some rain.  Not a lot, but just enough to sting your cheeks every now and then.  I didn't do as well there in miles 7 and 8 (285 and 288 watts respectively). It seemed like a while but finally at 8.5 miles I made the final turn for home.  The road was smooth again and the wind was at your back.
Garmin "Segments"
I tried to crank for home and I caught another rider.  Being able to stay in aero helped me crank out 300 watts on mile 9.  The last mile has the big hill at the end and I just pushed for all I was worth.   I was able to crank out 368 watts that last mile.

So I came across officially in 23:05.83 seconds.  Good for 26.0 average (actually works out to be a 25.97 avg, but I'm rounding that puppy up to 26).  Out of the 23 riders I finished 2nd overall.  Full Results here.  They also keep track of the year long points totals found here.

I really liked this time trial course.  It's really is the "Race of Truth" as they call it.  There are turns.  There are hills.  There is wind.  It is a real test of your biking.  Plus, there are not a lot of cars out on the course that I came across.  I definitely need to try and get out here again, but maybe on a calmer evening.