So I had my first road race ever this sunday. Actually it was my first "proper" bicycle race ever. I have competed in fixed gear sprints, but this race was much different.
I woke up sunday morning unsure if I was even going to race, it looked nice from what I could see out my window, but I wasn't sure if I was "ready." Lo and behold once I got up it was raining out. In my mind that was a deffinit no that I wouldn't be racing. So I would take pictures and it would be fun. I packed my bike and everything into the van on the slight chance that it was nicer up in Sidney. Went and got Andrew and off we went.
We arrived and the course was wet, but it was sunny out. I decided (with slight nudging from Andrew) to give it a shot anyways. I signed up and took a quick pre-lap. I had no warm-up, which I see now was probably my fatal mistake going into this race. Either way we lined up and got ready to go. In this next picture I look confused, it's because I am. More on that after.
I was confused because he was explaining to follow the rules. Fatal flaw number 2 for me. I had not read or heard of any rules other than "hold your wheel," and to stay in the lane (not cross traffic lanes). I decided to just follow suit of everyone. It seemed to work.
Off we went. I kept with the main pack for 2-3 laps I think, the race was rather a blur when I think back now, but after those first couple the pace was so high that I could not keep up. I think this was mostly due to having not warmed up. I was now sitting in a pack of about 4 people in last place. I thought to myself "this is okay, I'll just go at my own pace and get my Cat 5 upgrade points (see the new CycleBC licensing system for more info on the "new rider" license) and I will hang with these 4." All was well until about lap 5. I felt warmed up and ready to go and the group of 4 that I was with where going too slow for my tastes now. When we crested the top of the hill, which also happened to be the start/finish line, I attacked. I also attacked at the same moment some Group A's were passing. Which was fine, I sorta snuck in with them, for pretty much the rest of the race. Here I am with said A group.
Now what I didn't know was that B's were not suppose to be in with A groups. I know now, but in my defense there were a few other B's doing the exact same thing, so during the race I didn't think I was doing anything wrong.
Either way, I felt super good about being able to keep up with the main A group. As I said before I kept pace with these guys up until the last lap. On the last lap I felt they too were going too slow so I dropped them. I attacked on the downhill and got quite a distance away from them. I wasn't just doing this for fun though. Every lap up until this point I had seen a russ hays racer entering the climbing portion of the crit while I came onto the the flat portion (which is just before the climb). Each time I cam down I couldn't catch him because the A group were going at a leisurely pace and I couldn't catch him by myself. As I was saying I attacked down the hill hoping to see the Russ Hays rider after I turned the downhill corner, or maybe to catch him on the climb.
Unfortunately I did not catch him, by the time I got to the bottom he was nowhere to be seen and most likely up the hill already. I then just climbed the hill to finish the race. I didn't think I did that great, I stopped paying attention to who was passing/who I was passing around lap 9/12.
I finished and went over to the side of the road to have a drink, super happy I had finished!
Then Andrew so kindly took me home and I took a nap.
The next day I checked the results and I cam 10th! out of 19 competitors and I got points! I was elated!
Overall I think that this was a great experience and I can't wait to do it again (I am going to find out all the rule though for next time)!
All photos courtesy of Duane Martindale and Andrew Lafrance