Sunday was my first ever Time Trial race; the Fisk Knob Time Trial. This is an annual event in its 32nd year that serves as sort of a kick off to the road racing season. It is a 17.3 mile course through the rolling hills of northern Kent County. Fisk Knob Park is the highest point in Kent County so the race finished with a nice .5 mile climb at the very end.
This is the final climb to the finish (looking down the hill). Hills are difficult to photograph, so you know that the climb is a doozy when you can see it in a photograph.
I registered for this race towards the end of the registration period so I was assigned number 156 (out of 180 or so). This meant that my start time would be at 2:18 with the first rider going out at 1:00. That gave me plenty of time to kill. I rode out and did some warmups and even included a set of “flushers” that I learned from my spin class instructor Kattie. Flushers are:
60 seconds at low cadence, big gear then 60 seconds soft pedal – repeat for 3 sets
60 seconds at high cadence (110RPM+) then 60 seconds soft pedal – repeat for 3 sets
60 seconds at HIM pace then 60 seconds soft pedal – repeat for 3 sets.
They are a great way to warm up the legs and loosen up.
It was crazy windy out for the race with a steady 15-20mph wind out of the SW and gusts stronger than that. It was windy enough that a few people ditched their disc wheels for their stock wheels. With no race wheels myself (yet), I didn’t have to worry about it. The temperature was nice and warm though with temps in the 70’s.
Before I knew it, it was time to line up. I made sure I shifted into an easy gear and found my spot. For starting, they had one guy holding you upright so you could clip into both pedals. This would be a first time for starting like this and I had a fear that he would say “Go!”, let go, and I would tip over. Thankfully, that didn’t happen and I had a successful start.
Just getting started after managing to stay upright.
The race starts off downhill and before I knew it I had spun out of my gears and was coasting down the hill at nearly 40mph. I knew the first 4 miles or so was mainly downhill so I pushed it as hard as I could. I caught up to and passed the 2 riders in front of me fairly quickly and was feeling great.
Still early on in the race on the first downhill.
5.5 miles in, we turned onto Red Pine which runs North-South. I thought that with the S-SW winds, this would be the toughest section of the course. However, because the road is lined with Red Pine trees (hence the name of the road), the wind was pretty mild and I surprisingly didn’t notice it in either direction. There were two turn arounds on Red Pine which were a pain mainly because you lose so much momentum trying to go around a cone. It did give me a chance to take a glug from my water bottle though.
In no time, I was turning back on to 20 Mile for the final 5 miles of the course. I got passed by one guy and passed another on this stretch. Drafting wasn’t allowed, but I tried to use the guy who passed me as motivation to hang on.
With a mile left, the course turns onto the final stretch. I had thought that the hill would begin as soon as I made the turn, but there was actually a pretty decent run up to the climb that allowed me build some back up momentum that I lost on the turn (NOTE: I am horrible at taking turns fast. Need to work on that). I chugged as hard as I could going up the hill and crossed the finish line with a time of 44:28.
I was super happy with my time as my A-Goal was 45 minutes. 44:28 put me at a 23.3mph average. This earned me 8th out of 15 in my AG and 34th out 160 overall. I was actually surprised that I wasn’t higher up in my AG. I looked back at the previous 3 years’ results and my time would have easily earned me 1st or 2nd in my AG. From the looks of it, the 20-24 AG must have had a couple people age up this year as that AG has been smoking fast the past couple of years. Oh well, guess I just need to get faster!
If you want to see all the nerdy details of the race, feel free to check out my Garmin file. Based on the results of the race, I think I need to adjust my HR zones as I was in Z5+ for nearly the entire ride based on my current zones. Also, I think I need to switch back to my 12-25 rear cassette. I just could not get comfortable with the gearing on the 11-28 cassette and found myself jumping back and forth between spinning and mashing. I usually ended up spinning and ended up with an average cadence of 104RPM.
Alright, enough about me. What about the rest of the competition?
The overall winner was an 18 year old kid who finished in 38 minutes flat. That is a smoking 27.3mph average! I should have asked for his autograph for when is famous and racing in the TdF.
While most of the racers had fancy TT bikes and race wheels, there was probably about 30% of the racers on non TT bikes. I really enjoyed watching these racers. While it is easy to get swept up into the craziness of aero, race wheels, Cervelo P2 & P3/Specialized Transition & Shiv/Trek Speed Concepts/etc., these riders provided a refreshing reminder of the everyday road warrior and the simplicity of the sport.
First off is the fat bike jorts rider. Yes, jorts. A fat bike, for those who don’t know, is a specialty type of bike with tires at least 3.5” wide. This is compared to my 23c tires which are 23mm (.9”) wide. They are popular for riding on snow, sand, and other unstable conditions. They are not a fast bike by any means due to their high rolling resistance. I can only imagine the workout this guy got racing 17 miles on it.
Next up is the hand cyclist – only one today. This is just incredible to me. I can’t imagine racing like this. I would feel so vulnerable this close to the ground. He ended up finishing with an impressive 20mph average. I’ll have to look for him at the River Bank Run next month as there are usually a couple dozen wheelchair and hand cyclist racers.
The next woman I wish I would have had a chance to talk to. I saw her and her husband pull up before the race started. They pulled up in a big Buick with a handicap sign hanging from the window. This tiny little old lady (probably in her 70’s) gets out of the car with a cane and heads over to registration. Yep, she used a cane for walking, but was out there racing – with clipon aero bars to boot! Awesome.
Ok, this guy is on a TT bike, but I couldn’t resist sharing. He is riding a pink camo QR. Where does a guy even get a pink camo QR??? And I am fairly certain that it is actually his bike and not one he borrowed. #1 I think I have seen him before at races and #2 He won the 25-29 AG with a 25.6mph average so I guessing the bike fit him pretty well.
Next up is the tandem riders. There were actually 3 sets of tandem racers, but this couple I have seen at other races. They did both of the gravel races I did earlier this season on their tandem. Not only that, but Mike, the guy on the front, finished (fast tandem time), hopped on a Fixed Gear bike and raced AGAIN – solo this time. I talked to the woman after the race and it was apparently his 5th race of the weekend.
Finally, there is this guy. He was in the 19 and under category riding a Surly bike with internal geared hub. No fancy aero bars, no shoes/cleats, just straight up cycling. I’m not sure if it this was his first race ever, but I saw him finish and he had the biggest smile on his face; like he had just conquered the world.
And finally, just one more picture for you…
These were posted all over the park. Thankfully there was plenty of porta-jons.