This weekend Houston hosted the Texas State Championships for the Senior Games. I scrambled to find time-trialing form after my fabulous three weeks cycling from one end of Great Britain to the other. First I had to find attitude. Plan A, mapped out prior to taking the tour, called for me start some medium-pace time-trialing (just to starting bending in all the right places) immediately upon my return. The second week I would go for speed. In actuality, it took two weeks before I was ready to get on the tt bike, leaving two weeks before racing. We went to Plan B, generally a panic-mode set of practices, and I did two days each at the 5km and 10km distances (3 sets of 5km, and two sets of 10km, three days apart). Then I went to my acupuncturist for some pre-race needles (stress-relief).
Saturday at 9am, give or take, the 5km began. The morning started in the mid-40's, no wind. By race time it had risen to maybe 60, still very little wind. I just can't seem to warm up properly for the 5km. Even though I rode on the road for at least 30 minutes, including sprinting to increase my heart-rate, and 10 minutes on the trainer to again get the heart-rate up and the body used to getting rid of lactic acid, I didn't feel really loose.
The organizers called us to the staging area much too soon, thus we had at least 30 minutes of waiting and allowing the body to cool off. We rode around a bit and up and down a side street, but it wasn't the same. Anyhow, eventually my time came.
Like a lot of previous time trials, I started off quickly, settled into a rythym, and found my heart and lungs complaining at the load I put upon them. My legs refused to apply power to the pedals. Although I kept a good rpm, I knew I should have been in a higher gear and going faster. This is a short race, straight and flat, so the suffering lasted 8 minutes and 7 seconds (pay no real attention to the time, the race was a smidgen over 5km).
As it turned out, the winning time in my age group (65 to 69) was 7:54 and my time was good enough for second place. Comparatively, I tied for eigth place overall. Age groups are in five-year increments starting at age 50 (50-54;55-59;60-64-65-69 and so forth).
We had maybe an hour and a half before the 10km time-trials started. I used the time to stretch, re-hydrate and fuel myself, rest and relax, and do more warm-up on the trainer. I also didn't report to the staging area until shortly before my start time.
The temperature had increased another ten degrees and was quite comfortable. I felt quite relaxed and ready. I moved quickly away and settled onto the aerobars within twenty pedal strokes. The 10km race course was again straight and flat, but also about .4 of a mile short of 10km (due to traffic concerns). Unlike the 5km, I felt strong and comfortable the whole way and the legs supplied proper power, giving me a nice high gear. When I caught sight of the finish line, about a half mile ahead, I pushed hard and achieved an even higher gear, more rpm, and a really fast finish.
The preparations paid off, as I posted a first place in my age group, with a time of 13:20. This was seventh overall. Interestingly, my average speed for the 5km was 23.6 and the 10km 24.3.
Sunday I did the 40km (actually 28 miles) road race, more for fun than anything. I managed to stay with the group until the last 50 meters, possibly because I tried an ill-timed breakaway and ran out of steam at the end. We averaged 20.3mph.
This marks the end of this year's cycling season. Training for next year starts Nov 1.