Updated: Oct 30
After a few years of not attending, I decided to sign up for the Texas State Time Trial Championships held in Dawson, TX this year. The race promoter, Alex Montoya, had made it a double weekend with the State Criterium Championship held the day before so I was able to compete in both events on the weekend. The Time Trial was on a new 50km (30mile) course that was partly used during previous editions of the Tour of Corsicana. Having never done a 50km ITT before (State or National Championships are usually 40km or less) I was excited by the new challenge, especially since I would be racing the Criterium Championship the evening before. The Criterium on the famous bricks of downtown Corsicana went well and I ended up 2nd behind the solo winner Eli Husted (Super Squadra) in the P12 race.
Getting ready for a 50km Individual Time Trial requires solid physical preparation but also lots of mental “work” or readiness, especially with the conditions we were facing the morning of the race. The race day forecast: temperatures in the 48-52F range, rain, and 15-20mph winds. Knowing that I had trained and prepared for this 1-hour plus effort and had my TT bike dialed, I was confident about my chances on the day. The biggest challenge during an Individual Time Trial is the pacing and knowing how hard to go at what part of the course, especially if the effort is longer than the usual 40km ITT distance.
I had pre-ridden the course and knew we had a strong head/cross wind for the first 10km and the last 10km. I started the race going full gas and was able to catch my 1-minute man after about 5km. Once I was through the 1st 10km of headwind, I settled into a steady, hard yet sub-maximal effort for kilometer 10 to kilometer 40. The most challenging part during this section of the race was visibility. It was raining and the constant precipitation was making it hard to see out of my helmet visor.
I came to the final right turn with about 10km to go and went as hard as I could into the cross/head wind. I felt strong as I came to the finish and knew I put in a good time. I never looked back once during the TT and made sure to not display any power numbers on my bike computer. Seeing power number usually plays tricks with my mind. I prefer to follow my instinct or “feel”, and look at the speed I knew I needed to go for a good time on the day. In the end, I clocked a time of 1hr, 4min, and 28sec, averaging 28.4mph for the 49.4km (30.5mile) course, which turned out to be just a little short of the advertised 50km. Matt Crawford (United Cycling) came in 2nd place about 2-minutes behind my time, and Mario Arroyave (Elevate Cycling) followed shortly after in 3rd place in the P/1 category.
I was happy to stand on the top step of a State Championship podium since it’s been a while since I've been there. Kudos to everyone who came out that day and battled the tough conditions on that course. Also, thanks to Alex Montoya for putting on the State Championships and changing things up a bit with the format and course distance. My hope for next year is that more people find interest in time trialing and will participate in the Time Trial State Championships. No women entered the Women’s P12 Time Trial and only 10 riders competed in the Men’s P12 Time Trial.
Some bits for the bike-tech geeks:
Frameset: Specialized Shiv (Small/52)
Wheels: HED Jet Disc (rear) and HED Stinger 9 (front)
Tires: Vittoria Corsa Speed, 25mm, Tubeless, at 75psi
Cranks/Chainring: ROTOR 2inPower, 172.5, Q-Ring, 1x54t
Cassette: 11-25, 11-Speed
Stefan is a full-time cycling coach and bicycle fitter at ROTHE Training and based in Austin, TX.