Saturday the 16th of July was spent traveling to my in-laws, just south of Cleveland, for a couple of reasons. The most important reason was to spend the weekend there for my son’s 14th birthday, which was on Sunday and the other reason was that their house is only 45 minutes from the Ohio State Cycling Time Trial in Deerfield, Ohio. Once we got to their house we spent the day relaxing, watching TV and eating. The meal was great, but I had too many pieces of Mississippi Mud Pie, which is basically rich fudge brownies with marshmallow cream and chocolate icing on top. That was Logan’s birthday “cake”, which we also enjoyed with ice cream.
We got up at 4:15am on Sunday morning to get ready for the race. We left for the short drive at 5:30, and everything was very much the same as usual. I had the breakfast that is very similar to what I eat on every other race morning; two bananas, a cliff bar, and three cups of coffee. There wasn’t much traffic on the way to the race. That is one good thing about racing early on Sunday morning, there aren’t many people out and about causing traffic problems.
We got to the Deerfield Town Hall parking lot about 6:15am. We got changed and put our bikes together while waiting on registration to open, and as soon as they did, Logan and I got our bibs, chips, and start times. I was racing the 17.1-mile course in the Category 5 race and he was racing in the Junior 13-14 age group which was a 12.7-mile course. I decided to race the Cat 5 race because it was a triangular course, versus the age group race, which was an out and back course. It was worth doing the extra mileage to not have to do a 180 turn around in the middle of the race. Plus, I need the longer course to assist in prepping for upcoming triathlons. The start time I was given was 8:22:30am and Logan’s start time was 9:03am. Neither of us actually started on our given start time, which was not a huge issue, but we later found out that it caused some timing issues (more on that later).
After we got our bibs and chips on the bikes, we went for a short warm-up ride that would double as a last minute route recon as well. The weather was great. It was living up to the forecast, little to no wind and temps in the upper 60s. I wore two shirts on the warm-up ride due to the cool weather. The start of the short course was downhill for the first mile with a tailwind all the way out. The long course started up a small incline, not really a hill.
At about 10 minutes till 8:00am, the race director started calling for athletes to line up in bib number order. The race started with Men’s Cat1/2 then the Women’s Cat 1/2, all the Categories followed after that. I started second to last out of the 11 men in the Cat 5 division. The cyclist behind me had beaten me at the Blue Streak earlier in the week, and a few riders in front of me was Professional Triathlete Nick Glavac. I was watching the racers in front of me start, I had never started off a ramp before and I was nervous. We were running behind, but cyclists were launching off the ramp every 30 seconds, as posted on the event flyer.
My actual start time was 8:30am. I had my crank in the wrong position at the start and realized it too late. The man holding my bike still for me started counting down from five. I almost rode right off the side of the ramp! I heard the guy that had been holding my bike yell, but I regained control and managed to get off the ramp and on course. I knew that an average speed of 25mph was what it would take to get on the podium, so I was mashing the pedals trying to keep my cadence up. I knew the cyclist behind me was going to catch me, so when he did at about mile 3 I did not let it get in my head. I just focused on not letting him out of my sight. I caught 2 riders in the first 5 miles, and could see the 3rd at about mile 7. This was good because the pain in my quads was piling up and I wanted to push harder and harder. Sweat was rolling off my head and on to the visor on my aero helmet. I looked at the 3rd rider as I passed him, I knew who it was so I yelled, “Great job, Jason” to help motivate him, and went right back to focusing on trying to catch another. When I made the last turn onto State Route 14, I knew I had just a few miles to go. I could see another rider and I was focusing on catching him when I got caught by a female cyclist. She was really moving. I focused on not letting her to get too far ahead of me, just like I had with the other cyclist. On the way to the finish line, I looked over and saw the Juniors coming down the road, on the other side. I was pushing hard on my pedals and looking for Logan, which helped motivated me to push harder. I did not want him to see me not pedaling or pushing hard. I saw him and yelled to him that he was doing great. I was happy when the finish line was in sight. When I was crossed the line I hit my Garmin’s stop button, I saw the time (42:26) and I was happy because I really wanted to go under 43 minutes no matter what. So, with this I was happy even when I looked at the results sheet later and saw they had my time at 42:39. I had hit the start button before I launched off the ramp by at least 3 seconds, and I hit stop about 1 second after crossing the finish line. I heard a few others say that their times were off by 30 seconds or so. I did not bring it up to the race directors because it did not change the overall results.
I averaged 24.5 mph for the first 5 miles, the next 5 miles I averaged 24 mph, the next 5 miles I averaged 24 mph, and for the last 2.1 miles I averaged 24mph, giving me a 24.2 mph average with an actual moving average of 24.4 mph. I was really happy with the splits and I as I predicted, it was not fast enough for the podium. I finished 5th out of 11 total racers in the Cat 5 division, placing me 4th of the cyclist from Ohio, and just off the podium.
Logan had a much better finish than I did. He averaged 20.4 mph for the 12.7-mile course. He was 1st place out of 4 racers making him the State of Ohio Cycling Time Trial Champion for the Junior 13-14 age group division. I’d say that was a good way to celebrate turning 14.