The state finals are usually a little later in the year, thus my two training practices hadn't done much to hone my speed for the time trials. That, and seeing who had signed up in my age group, gave me a lowered expectation of being state champion. However, such accolades are merely adjunct to having fun racing, so I fully expected to enjoy myself. The San Antonio venue at Texas Research Park is a great place to race.
Saturday morning was the 10km time trial, necessitating leaving Round Rock at 5:30am. I encountered a little mist and drizzle, but it was supposed to dissipate as the sun rose. I had on tights and rain jacket as I warmed up, and my glasses fogged over after several minutes, but at least the road was dry and allowed taking the corners at speed. As the start time approached I divested myself of extraneous clothing and made final preparations. The course is one full loop and then half way around to turn around to the finish. This year we had chip-timing.
I felt good, breathing and heart-rate within normal racing range. The back-side hill didn't give as much pain as usual, and I finished with a good spurt. My Texas competitor, whom I had never beaten before, didn't fare as well and came out ten seconds slower. So, my first race garnered a silver medal. First place went to a visitor from Missouri. I could take consolation in being the fastest Texan, but that still doesn't make me champion. Oh, well.
Sunday morning began with the 5km time trial, followed an hour later with the 40km road race. Once again Missouri came in first, and I came in third. My Texas competitor felt much better on Sunday and came in about ten seconds faster. In both time trials, my time put me 13th fastest overall, out of 38. I was quicker than seven of the younger riders.
The 40km road race was mostly just for endurance training. It is ten loops of serious racing, and I was hoping to hang in for six or seven loops. Sometimes I'll do a little leading and put on a burst of speed to the front, but not today. This time I followed, appreciating the draft. On the sixth loop I dropped back a bit on the back-side hill, but was able to fight back on the downhill. On the seventh loop, the younger group, which had started two minutes behind us, caught up and we tagged along with them. Curiously, they took the back-side hill much slower than our group had been doing, thus I hung on until the next time up, when they accelerated and dropped three of us. We formed our own little group for the next two loops, and more or less cruised into the finish. With 200 yards to go, they jumped, and I didn't, thus my sixth place finish. Stats: 1hour, 16 minutes, 34 seconds, averaging 19.6 mph for 25 miles. My time was faster than 14 younger riders. Another fun day in the saddle.