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 Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games 2017

This year's Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games bicycle time-trials are scheduled for Thursday evening May 4 at the Riverside Drive course near Marshall. First rider away will be 5:30. This is not only a chance to race against your peers, but can also be excellent prep for USA Cycling National Masters Road Championships, which will be near Augusta, GA, June 1 - 4 (the TTs are on 1st).

A-BSG schedule and entry form can be accessed at www.ashevillenc.gov/parks, but are well hidden. Select "Current Event Information" (it looks like a home page subtitle), and scroll down to "Asheville-Buncombe Senior Games", which has registration and schedule links. Forms will need to be downloaded and submitted by snail mail. Entry fees are always incredibly cheap (TOTAL fee before April 22, $10.00, $12.00 thereafter). Entries are accepted on-the-day, but please have the forms ready to save registration time.

            Entry is open to all athletes aged 50 and over during the year, regardless of residence, and all age-group medalists in 1-mile, 5k and 10k qualify for NC Senior Games in Garner (near Raleigh) on September 24. There are 5-year age groups ad infinitum i.e. 50-54, 55-59, etc. Officially only open to 50+ age groups, in the past, the organizers have allowed under-age rider participation, but for training purposes only. Under-age riders will not get awards or qualification.

            The easiest way to start/registration area: Take “Future I-26”W and exit at 19A towards Marshall and Hot Springs. Merge on to Hwy 25/70 and drive 6.8 miles. Exit left on to Bus25/70 to Marshall (it is signposted). The start is at the bottom of the hill, at the junction with Riverside Drive. Please park on the river side of the road.

            A-BSG TT rules are different from USA Cycling. Participants can enter for up to five distances, 1-mile, 5k, 10k, 20k and 40k, but it is combined into one ride with split times determining the results. The course is out-and-back so most riders, having competed the 1-mile, 5k and 10k to the turn-around, continue their race back to the cars at 20k. A few like to prolong the pain and do a second lap. NC Senior Games do not have 20k or 40k TTs, so A-BSG medalists only qualify for the shorter distances.

            Note that these races are time-trials, which means no mass start and no riding in close proximity to other participants in a peloton. With staggered, individual starts the competition is really against the clock. Nobody faces embarrassment or humiliation from being dropped or lapped.

            Any questions about the games should be addressed to Bryan Fish, bfish@ashevillenc.gov. If anyone would like advice about participating in bicycle time-trials, contact me at jbwallis@charter.net.

            Please put these TTs on your calendars. They are fun, with little pressure, and are a great opportunity to test your speed endurance in a friendly, competitive atmosphere. My first bicycle race was at the 2003 A-BSG, in which I rode a Trek 1000 with no aero equipment, and it proved to be the start of an enjoyable time-trial career.