I've been riding daily for six years, mostly on my commute, then rides on weekends. I use the commute (10 miles round trip) as a chance to ride a quick pace with extra weight on my back (my bag). I'm 43, 5' 9", 145 lbs.
My weekend rides have alternated between 20 mile hill-specific sessions and 12-15 mile "time trials" at moderate effort. I can keep a 21 mph pace for the TT course which is mostly flat, out and back, several turns. The bike I use is pictured below. 23 lbs of steel swiftness ;-)
I had planned to train for another year, get a budget TT bike, ride it for six months, then enter a 10K local TT in 2009 which is a straight shot, dead flat.
My question: is it a better idea to do the TT this year (on the bike pictured below -- I'd slap on some aero bars) to establish a baseline, then train for a year with the extra motivation to beat my baseline time; or is it better to simply train and have Sept. 2009 be my first race?