McNulty to race in South Mountain Time Trial

UCI World junior time trial bronze medalist Brandon McNulty (LUX Development) will attempt to break his own record Saturday at the Highly Falkner South Mountain Time Trial in Phoenix.

McNulty, whose racing age is 18, said he wants to be somewhere in the 16-minute range.

“Well, it’s one of the last local races that I’ll be in town for, and I really want to break my previous record and maybe even the Strava KOM,” McNulty said. “I hope to break the previous record as I’ve developed a lot as a rider since 2014.”

His official record time stands at 17:55, but several riders’ efforts on Strava are faster, including that of Danny Eaton (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling). But the Strava segment is also listed as a tenth of a mile shorter than the official race course.

Brandon McNulty rides for the win and record of 17:55 at the South Mountain Time Trial in 2014. Photo by Jeffrey Siepker/AZisPhotography.

Brandon McNulty rides for the win and record of 17:55 at the South Mountain Time Trial in 2014. Photo by Jeffrey Siepker/AZisPhotography.

Home course

McNulty, who has raced in Europe and against some of the world’s best riders, said the local race is special to him because he rode up South Mountain with his father when he was younger on Silent Sundays when the summit road is closed to traffic.

“I would always try to race him up the mountain and also try my hardest to get on the wheels of faster riders passing us, so to have the record up it and to hopefully improve the record is pretty special,” McNulty said.

South Mountain, the largest municipal park in the nation, includes a summit road to the top, on which the time trial course is run. The 5.5-mile race course starts from the “Y,” where the road forks off to the summit or to the San Juan lookout and gains about 950 feet of elevation. Although the average grade is 3 percent, the climbs kick up past 11 percent toward the end.

“We couldn’t believe he set that record in 2014,” said Jay Rapson, one of the time trial’s organizers from Team Vitesse. “It would be amazing to see him break it this weekend.”

Strategy tips

McNulty said a good strategy is to give it your all, but pace yourself at the beginning, just like other time trials.

“It’s easy to get excited and start off way too hard in TTs, and with this being an uphill TT, it’s especially important not to burn yourself too early as there’s basically no recovery,” McNulty said. “Also keep pushing on the downhill section and get as aero as you can.”

Next up

McNulty, whose team just won just won the junior national team time trial championship last month in Greenville, S.C., will leave for Europe on May 18 for Tour du Pays de Vaud, a UCI Junior Nations’ Cup stage race in Switzerland. Then he’ll head to Trofeo Karlsberg another Nations’ Cup race in Germany.

He’ll be back in the U.S. at the end of June to contest USA Cycling Junior Road Nationals in Louisville, Ky.