Most cyclists who race either love or hate doing time trials. I fell in love with this discipline many years ago: it came out of my roots as a triathlete.
Once I moved back to Texas, I participated in the Texas State Time Trial Championship races every year. It’s a 2 day event: Saturday is the Individual Time Trial (ITT) day & then my favorite event comes on Sunday: the Team Time Trial (TTT) event.
Several years ago, this event re-located to Hempstead, Texas. It’s a convenient location for competitors coming from DFW, Houston & Austin. The smooth asphalt, flat course & strong winds make it ideal for time trial racing.
This year’s edition was co-directed by the dynamic duo of Ino Sofjan & Nancy Kotinek from the Houston-based Northwest Cycling Club (NWCC). Once again, Ino, Nancy & the NWCC crew did an outstanding job of putting on one of the best events in Texas road racing.
I’ve done a fair amount of road racing this year but didn’t focus much on time trial training. So, I came to Hempstead not expecting to do well: I was looking forward to camping out at the race venue & enjoying time with friends.
I toed the line for my ITT on Saturday a bit nervous: there was a good-sized field in the women’s 40+ race. I felt good at the start: an issue with my power meter forced me to race by feel (it was liberating not to focus only on the power numbers). I kept passing people who started in front of me, which is always a good thing in a time trial race.
Even after my race, I didn’t think that I placed well. A volunteer showed me a chip timing report that showed me finishing in 2nd place. But, I didn’t believe that I had placed that high so I went back to my RV for a cool-down. Then, results were posted showing me placing 2nd…wow!! But, I miscalculated the timing of the podiums & I missed the podium ceremony. Thankfully, Nancy graciously called everyone back so that I could pose with the other ladies who finished on the podium.
Fast forward to day #2: the Team Time Trial (TTT) event. The TTT is hard but fun: there’s nothing like being in a line of 4 fast ladies motoring across a road for an hour. And I was really excited because I was racing on an ad-hoc team made up of 3 super strong women: Debbie Randall, Melissa Kuliska & Angela Man.
All of them are experienced in this discipline, really fast, super nice & they all hold a rock-solid line. So I was really pumped to be racing with these ladies: I knew we’d have tough competition but I was confident we’d place well.
The 4 of us did a very solid TTT with a super-fast initial 20K. But, we lost more speed than anticipated after the turnaround on the out-and-back course: the wind really had kicked up by the point and made the 2nd half of the race feel brutally tough. Since we all raced solid ITTs the previous day, I think we were all spent by the time we saw the 5K banner but we motored on….
We ended up placing 3rd in the women’s Cat 3 TTT event (another day, another podium!). It was great to be on that podium with the 1st place team (Fresh Racing + Pamela Ferguson from Haute Wheels) and the 2nd place team (Team ATC). And, it was awesome doing the tough but fun TTT with Debbie, Melissa & Angela! Most of all, it was great to spend time before & after the races with good friends…and to bring home some awesome hardware, too!