Austin Tri-Cyclist Blog

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

2012 Texas State Time Trial Championship

by Jack Mott

This past weekend was the annual Texas State Time Trial Championship. Hosted the last two years in Lytle, Texas near San Antonio, it features a 40 kilometer out and back course with rolling hills and smooth pavement. Each year the fastest athletes in the state test their time trial skills and aero equipment in hopes of winning a coveted state championship jersey, and cash prizes of course.

Kickstand Racing, who has been running the event of late, has paralympic categories, multisport categories, and an Eddy Merckx (non aero) category along with the usual roadie categories. The multisport category makes the event perfect for triathletes to test their bike skills and win some money in the process. It is also a great way to check out the positions and equipment of the roadie studs, which can often be instructive for new triathletes.

Riders are sent off at 30 seconds intervals, grouped by category. Drafting is not allowed. The course is rather simple with no technical turns other than the turnaround at half way. It is open to traffic but there is a sizable shoulder the entire length of the course. Saturday features all of the individual categories, while Sunday hosts team time trial competitions, where teams of 3 or 4 must carefully work together to go even faster.

The weather this year was hot, as usual, and a bit windy which is also the norm in central Texas. In the Category 1 men ranks, the favorites were 787 Racing's Brant Speed and Super Squadra's David Wenger who were 3rd and 5th respectively at Nationals just a few weeks before. As the Cat 1 men were finishing it became clear that the course was almost a kilometer too long. In the end Brant Speed came away with the win, with an average speed of nearly 30 miles per hour and a full minute ahead of 2nd place Logan Hutchings. David Wenger would end up fourth.

In the Women's category 1, Snapple-ATC TT specialist Kat Hunter was the favorite with Jenny Park of Team Brain and Spine and Jenn Mix of Team 787 gunning to upset her. Kat managed to hold them off and take the win with a time of 59:25 after holding an average of 240 watts for the 40+ kilometer course. She was aboard her Cervelo P2, with HED Jet clincher wheels and a brand new super fast Continental Supersonic 20mm front tire thanks to Kaleb West at ATC. Other trick equipment included the new Omega aero brake up front, a very cool new piece. Men be warned: the women in this event were cycling at 25+ mph for an hour

Browsing through the pictures of the competitors a clear pattern emerges. The people going fast are talented, and hard working, and they extend that hard work into their position on the bike. They have spent time figuring out how to get low and powerful, and even focus on how they hold their head through the course. In the time trial, the wind and your pain are the only enemies, and they must both be conquered. Triathletes can learn a lot by watching the top road cyclists in a TT.

On Sunday one of the more fascinating cycling disciplines takes place with the team time trials. These contests are fascinating due to their complexity and the high speeds that are achieved. Teammates fly along the road at over 30mph, wheels just inches from one another, hands in the aero bars away from the brake levers. Perfecting the timing of when each teammate should pull requires thought and practice. The top teams are ones with great athletes who have also put in the time to practice. In the men's top category, team Think Finance took the victory. They were the only top team present at the Mineral Wells team time trial a couple weeks before, and their dedication was rewarded with a state championship.

In the men's category 4, a victory for the triathletes as team Jockstrap Catapult of Houston narrowly bested team Ghisallo by 14 seconds with a 54 minute effort. Team Ghisallo did avenge this shame with overall wins in both the Category 4 and Eddy Merckx individual categories by Matt "Baby Jan" DeMartino and Adam Butler respectively.

In the most important race of all, the Category 4 Slowtwitch bragging rights contest, your author, Jack Mott, bested Charlie Buser by over 2 minutes in route to breaking the hour barrier for the first time, but still slower than his own wife.

Full TT Results Here (Scroll to the bottom)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Jack, congratulations on breaking an hour!

    - David Hoffman