In my relatively short competitive biking career I've done a few different disciplines like MTB, Road, Triathlon, and today was the first time I've attempted a real road race. I've done a couple of informal events that felt like races but this was the real deal.
I got a decent warm up of about 35-40 minutes of random spinning around the grounds with a few jumps in there to see how the heart rate would respond. It seemed ok but I could definitely feel the heavy weekend that I just put in in the legs. But for what ever it's worth I figured I'd set my goal as don't crash and finish with the pack.
We lined up and my teammate Ian and I got on the front line. There were some cameras there so maybe we'll be in some swanky pics-wohoo! Looking back there were probably around 40 people total. It seemed to be a nice sized field. What do I know I'm a noob at this. Anyway it started off nicely paced and someone immediately jumped off the front. It started to get organized and I just found a wheel to sit on. I worked back and forth with cycling front to back and just seeing how the whole dynamic works. I was amazed at how quickly you could go from the front of the pack to the middle and back. It was interesting just to see what kind of gaps you could jump into and being able to see people that were fading to avoid. The comfort factor was a bit of a battle since it did get really tight and jerky at times. Honestly I think that was the biggest thing to wrap my head around. Since I got hit by the car in December, lets just say I've been a little more anxious about proximity and impending doom. But I think I faired ok. It was more annoying to see the people that would brake into the turns and mess up the flow. It always felt like the pack was slowing and speeding up.
Towards the final few laps I finally got the feel of when I can put power down and when to relax and when to pedal a little softer. Unfortunately that's when the pace picked up and I just got stuck in a bad spot. I was playing around in the front 15 or so for most of the race and kinda got boxed in and couldn't get around as guys were freight training to the front. So the last turn came up the hill and I got out of the saddle and tried to get out which I did but was a little late. I heard the voice of God say get on my wheel, but alas it was my teammate Weber flying by and I did my best to stick to his wheel. He started pulling away towards the line but as we rolled I saw the guys that went too early fading fast as Weber and I reeled em in and past them to cross the line.
I'm not too sure how I faired but I'm guessing somewhere in the middle of the pack? It was interesting to do my first road race and see how being smarter would have resulted in a much better finish. The biggest battle is going to be just getting comfortable sitting amongst so many wheels. I think I was pretty solid but there's always room for improvement. All in all I guess I met my goal. I finished with the pack and no bad luck. I'll be back for more. Probably next week as the series is each week til July. It was good to be on a bike on such a gorgeous day!