Sunday, April 24, 2016

Texas State Senior Games

As a 50 year old, I have entered into a new decade of life, a decade whose first year overlaps the last year of the decade marking my successful attempt to claim the lost fitness of my youth. In celebration of my continuing adventures I decided to participate in the Texas State Senior Games, and to do so in a series of cycling events--5K and 10K Time Trials, as well as 20K and 40K Road Races. These would be the first cycling only events that I have done.

The schedule called for the 10K Time Trial and 20K Road Race to be Saturday and the 5K Time Trial and 40K Road Race to be on Sunday. Unfortunately, weather became a factor and forced the cancellation of the 40K on Sunday and they moved the 5K Time Trial to Saturday afternoon.

First up was the 10K Time Trial, which is a solo event where a rider goes all out for best effort against the clock. As we had light rain and wet roads, I was a bit cautious  but still put out my best effort over what was a pretty short distance for me. I finished in 17:48 for the 10K course, good enough for 4th place, which also qualified me for the 2017 National Senior Games. This was certainly a very good first effort for me in a cycling event, especially given that I felt that I learned a lot from that experience.

Next up was the 20K Road Race, which was also my very first drafting legal cycling event of any kind. I started out with the lead pack, although after the first mile was feeling like they were working a bit harder than I wanted to work and I saw some riders with stability issues on the wet roads. I decided to let the lead pack go, but needed up staying ahead of the second pack of riders (if there was one). I think this was the best decision of me under these circumstances but still was glad that I learned from this experience. I finished 5th in my age group in a time of 38:16.

Last up was the rescheduled 5K Time Trial, and I was hoping to take advantage of not having gone completely all out on the road race helping me be a bit less tired. I don't really know if that helped or not as the 5K Time Trial was pretty much an all out gut wrenching effort for an event. I just tried to leave everything I could out on the course and then keep myself composed enough to finish while trying to sprint to the finish. At least that was the plan, and that is pretty much what I did. I completed the course in 8:39, good enough for 2nd place (and the silver medal position) along with another Nagionals qualifying spot. I can definitely tell you that it felt great to know that I did my best and to also collect an award for this effort at a state level competition.

Overall, I have to feel that this was a very successful weekend where I learned some things about myself, some things about cycling and most of all that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. After all, it is going outside one's comfort zone that pushes them to make good things happen.

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