On parcours that race promoter Glenn Thrift described as a power/big ring course, approximately 80 plus riders toed the line in Pelzer, South Carolina for that state’s time trial championships. The distance was just 16 miles with several rollers dotting the course which included at the 10-mile point the longer hill which made the racers dig deeper into their reserves.
The climatic conditions were challenging for a time trial with temperatures in the upper 80’s, humidity at 60% and a strong side wind on sections of the course which required cautious riding when stretched out in an aerodynamic position.
In attendance was local favorite Eric Christophersen of the POA squad. Just two days prior Christopherson won and almost beat the record at the Greenville Spinners sponsored time trial held at SCTAC. Another potential winner looking to take the top podium spot was Ladd Lumpkin of Outspokin’ Bicycles and North Carolinian Ryan Jenkins of the powerhouse Carolina Masters cycling team. Jim Cunningham was another dark horse favorite, however he was at a disadvantage from his fellow competitors as he was racing on a standard road bike.
On the women’s side the list was just as deep with Thea Kent (recovering from a traumatic back injury) riding for Colavita, Giselle Weekes of Team Headstrong and powerhouse teammates Nicole Johnson and Catherine James of Kenda.
One of the first favorites to cross the finish line was Christophersen, who stopped the clock at 35:27.406 which at the moment was the best time. After cooling down the POA rider described the course conditions.
“Windier than a lot of people would appreciate.”
Christophersen’s strategy seemed to be the similar among all the riders.
“The hills play a big factor, especially where they are located in the course. You need to be conservative. Going over the hills it’s best to power over the top and reach your terminal speed on the downhill.”
Christophersen’s time was soon eclipsed by Ladd Lumpkin who came in at 34:58.0. Lumpkin’s time was then beaten by 31 seconds by Jenkins – 34:27.593. While the Carolina Master racer held the fastest time, his residence is in North Carolina, which gave the South Carolina time trial championship medal to Lumpkin. Christophersen had to be satisfied with a gold medal in the 40-44 year old division.
Jenkins gave some credit for his fast time to when he rolled off the starting line.
“I was so glad we went off a little earlier. In the course of 30 minutes it was two different rides.”
With his North Carolina’s state time trial championships on the 26th, Jenkins can expect to have a huge bull’s eye on his back.
While most riders had computers displaying power, speed and heart rate, the women’s time trial winner had none to gauge her effort on the course.
“All I had was a timer. My strategy was to go as hard as I could for 40 minutes.”
That strategy paid off as Weekes was the fastest with the time of 41:06.234. When asked about what she thought her chances were for winning today’s event – even after being named a favorite by several racers, Weekes was not that optimistic.
“Actually when I got here and looked around I was thinking I’d be lucky to get top-five. There are a lot of fast girls here. I’m hoping to win the Master Nationals time trial, but it’s hard to win a time trial around here.”
1. Giselle Weekes (1st 45-49) – 41:06.234
2. Catherine James (1st 35-39) -42.19.937
3. Nicole Johnson (2nd 35-39) – 42:34.984
4. Thea Kent (1st 30-34) – 42:52.046
5. Debbie Gillespie (3rd 35-39) – 43:42.234
1.Ryan Jenkins (1st 35-29) – 34:27.593
2.Ladd Lumpkin (2nd 35-39) – 34:58.0
3.Nathan Smith (1st 30-34) – 35:24.546
4.Eric Christophersen (1st 40-44) – 35:27.406
5.Matt Lipscomb (1st 19-22) – 36:05.265
(These results are not official. Check here for official standings and times)
Daniel Joyal who rode a 12:06 at the Paris Mountain time trial on a steel Raleigh frame competed and finished third in the Junior men’s division with a time of 42:04 on a borrowed Klein road bike.
With a smile on his face Joyal said, “This bike has made a huge difference.”
Look for this diamond in the rough at upcoming races.