Elk Grove Mayor Craig Johnson kicked off the 2012 Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove Friday, setting the pace for the Mayor's Charity Time Trial and coming within one small second of his goal.
The 52-year-old Johnson, riding his Cervélo, aimed to beat his previous year's time of 12 minutes and 9 seconds. He finished the 4.5-mile time trial course along Elk Grove Boulevard in 12 minutes and 1 second.
"Even though it's for fun, it's still better when you perform better," Johnson said, beaming at his time, well aware that the broiling heat and brisk head winds worked against him. "My ultimate goal is I want to break the 12-minute barrier."
The professional part of the three-day event, the women's and men's time trials, started Friday with a field of 58 women and 105 men.
The Men's Pro 3-Day, 3-Stage Race includes a 96.1-mile road race today, and a 71.4-mile circuit race on Sunday. The Women's Pro 3-Day, 3-Stage Race includes a criterium today and a circuit race on Sunday.
Community bike races will be held Sunday with the Village Trustees' Fun Ride at 12:40 p.m. and Shimano Kids' Big Wheel Race at 1 p.m.
For daily race results, visit www.tourofelkgrove.com.
For each of the first 25 riders who beat his 12:01, Johnson pledged to donate an additional $20 to the village's Fallen Soldier Memorial Fund. Challengers donate $50 to charity to ride in the time trial.
"I've already set aside $500," Johnson said before Friday's event. Which was good, because of the 47 riders who registered, 29 beat his time.
Each year, the Mayor's Charity Time Trial raises about $5,000 for The Heart Of A Marine Foundation and the Soldier Memorial Fund.
Johnson has come back strong after his 2010 crash in which he suffered five broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken collar bone, a muscle tear in his hip joint, and a concussion, which ended his training for that year's Tour. He took a year off from riding and eliminated his prized Mayor's Challenge race last year.