Any beginner that’s been reading the bike rags in the last year will have heard of Eve Stevens and her meteoric rise to the pro ranks. I’d be lying if I said that part of me didn’t want to come out of my first race with a story that in some way matched hers. We all day dream don’t we?
Well yesterday (March 27 2011) was my first ever road race and it was hard. I came in to the race with a few rides a week for the prior 4 weeks but nothing that was really ‘hard’ training and little/no hill work. Sure I had ridden the distance (35KM) lots of times and even ridden up to 50KM feeling great at the end but the intensity the race provided was well above what I was used to, especially the hill intensity.
The first lap was controlled by a former Euro racer to help keep the group together and, since it was the novice group, provide some ‘how to race’ pointers. As soon as we hit the second lap and the race opened up I was dropped. I was able to close the gap on the group on the downhills and flats but each climb put me farther back.
I’ve wondered if having a compact up front would help my climbing a bit since it would give me a better spin instead of degrading in to a pedal mashing event and the race means something needs to change. Obviously I’d love to just become strong enough for the the cranks I have but we’ll see if that happens over the next few weeks as I work on my climbing
Obviously I hadn’t trained all that hard before (unlike Eve) and if I was truthful with myself I kind of expected the intensity to be above what I was capable of. It kind of reminded me of the first ride I did with the local shop. They were really fast and I could barely hang on. I came home and felt dead.
It wasn’t really that bad this time. I was tired but my legs weren’t totally dead, I mean the race was pretty short. So after the race I decided to ride home (55KM) just to put on the miles (since I obviously need more bike time). On the way home I broke a front spoke about 10 minutes out and on a radial front wheel you’re done. I called the wife and got a ride the last 10KM home. Then spent the afternoon on the bed with my legs elevated watching cartoons on my laptop.
Overall I’m okay with how I did, sure I’d love to come to my first race and win but I didn’t train hard so didn’t deserve it. My plan this week is to fix my front wheel today (I deserve a break anyway) and put in one hard day Tuesday with laps on a local hill. Wednesday and Thursday will be easy days, Friday off then Saturday is back to racing with a 3 stage 2 day race. It’s got 2 criterium’s and 1 time trial hopefully I feel stronger.