Bremerton's West Sound Senior Games began Wednesday with a limited group of cyclists in the time trial due to poor weather.

POULSBO — The first day of Bremerton’s West Sound Senior Games got off to a rocky start in terms of the weather but there were still smiles and congratulations handed out by competitors.

Despite rain and strong winds, cyclists completed the 12K time trial on Big Valley Road on Wednesday. The rain cancelled Wednesday’s horseshoe event at The Fairgrounds. 

David Barrett of Tacoma starts in the 12K time trial cycling event during the first day of the Bremerton West Sound Senior Games Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at Big Valley Road in Poulsbo. (Annette Griffus/West Sound Senior Games)

Of the seven cyclists, Bainbridge Island’s John Nilssen, Port Ludlow’s Dan Austed and David Barrett of Tacoma compete in the Northwest Time Trial Series. The state championships are held in Tenino each year. Nilssen and Barrett were most recently in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the national time trial, which featured hundreds of cyclists.

Nilssen, who finished the race in 17 minutes, 38 seconds, said starting out in time trial is actually an easier way to start racing because riders are not in a pack.

“Anybody can ride down the road and come back,” he said.

“When you start racing the time trial is the first thing you do,” Austed added. “You’re more comfortable.”

“There’s less chance for mishaps,” Barrett said. 

Time trials definitely hurt more than other racing because riders are going full speed for the entire race with their only competition the clock ticking away in their head. 

“They call it the race to truth,” Barrett said. “You just go as fast as you can go.”

The road is reflected in the visor of John Nilssen’s helmet in the 12K time trial cycling event during the first day of the Bremerton West Sound Senior Games Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at Big Valley Road in Poulsbo. (Annette Griffus/West Sound Senior Games)

Barrett finished in second behind Nilssen in 18.16.

The biggest obstacle racers faced on Wednesday wasn’t the intermittent rain but the sudden gusts of wind. Time trial bikes are typically heavier than a road bike due to bigger frames and are more aerodynamic thanks to the use of ‘aerofoils’ in the rear. The aerofoils act like a sail and when wind hits it can send a cyclist sideways.

“The wind was sketchy,” Nilssen said. “When it hits you sideways it’s almost dangerous. It’s a real force on that axel and wheel and even that deep dish front wheel and it all adds up.”

“These bikes aren’t like regular road bikes,” Barrett cautioned. “You can’t take your hands off the handlebars.”

Dan Austed of Port Ludlow crosses the finish line in the 12K time trial cycling event during the first day of the Bremerton West Sound Senior Games Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at Big Valley Road in Poulsbo. (Annette Griffus/West Sound Senior Games)

Nilssen, Barrett et al have a dozen or more bikes — each one used for different subsets of cycling from touring to mountain biking, cyclocross, velodrome and roads. 

“Most guys like us have a bike for each discipline,” Nilssen said. “It’s a disease but, you know … “ 

The post-race smiles said more than words ever could.

Bremerton’s West Sound Senior Games

Event Schedule

  • Thursday — Mini golf, NW Golf Range, 10 a.m.; Free throw/Hot Shot contest, Sheridan Park Community Center, 6 p.m.; Disc golf, NAD Park, 1:30 p.m.
  • Friday — Pickleball, Sheridan Park CC, 9 a.m.; Swimming, Olympic Aquatic Center, 5-8 p.m.
  • Saturday — Track and Field, Bremerton High School, 10 a.m.; Ping pong, Bremerton Senior Center, 10 a.m.; Trivia multi-choice, Arena Sports Bar & Grill, 6 p.m.

Dan Austed of Port Ludlow crosses the finish line in the 12K time trial cycling event during the first day of the Bremerton West Sound Senior Games Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at Big Valley Road in Poulsbo.(Annette Griffus/West Sound Senior Games)

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