My First Road Race! -- Log
Ah-ha! So i finally went out for one of the weekly Wednesday Night Crit races - woot!
Tonite was the Newton Heights 'hilly' crit. I'd heard terrible things about this, and was expecting the worst..... Big nasty hill is all i've ever heard.
As i'm riding out (nice 26km warm-up), i can feel my legs are pretty drained....looks like that Tempo ride did more than i thought!! I decide to just suck it up. Be the tough guy i am. Oh yeah.
As i'm getting close, i see a few other riders heading in that direction, and chat a bit with Daniel from the Victoria OrganicAthelete team. (He ends up winning the A race.)
There are a few nasty hills while riding to the sign-up/start line, but he tells me they aren't part of the course...phew!
We get up there, and i see Chad from the track, nice to have a teammate about! He says it's his first time riding this in 10yrs. He's riding A tho (i decided beforehand i'd stick in the B category, since it's my first road race, and i have no idea what i'm capable of..plus there ain't much in my legs!)
I'm hoping i'd be able to do a quick loop of the course before signing in, but sadly there's not enough time...
Soon, the A's are off, and we the B's follow a minute or two later... I jump ahead to the 3rd or 4th wheel, i dunno if people attack off the top, or what, but i wanna be there if they do..!
The course starts off as a downhill, a few nice corners, then a 90 degree corner which is really the only spot you need to brake in. It keeps going down after that, and then levels out, and takes you into a short, steep climb of about 30m (road, not verticle), and then another 25m of a not-so-steep-but-you're-already-juiced climb..and then the starting line! Rinse and repeat! (And yes, we all love uphill finishes!)
Takes about 3.5 mins to complete the circuit, and we're doing 14 laps.
We get to the top of the first lap, and the group is still mostly together...not knowing the climb, i gave it a pretty good go, and people are just starting to catch up as i cross the line.... I push on ahead into the second decent, woot! 13 to go!
I hit the sharp turn a bit too fast, and cross over into the other lane for a second. Lesson learned!! Must slow down. =)
I stay on the front for the climb, and then let someone else pull for a lap... This continues, and throughout the race, there are three of us taking turns pulling. Dwayne, who's a pretty fast time-trialer, another fellow, and myself.
As the race progresses, the speed stays pretty consistant, but people keep falling off....with a handful of laps to go, there are eight of us in our little group... I sit on a wheel for a couple more rounds, and with 2 laps to go i take the front, and hammer it down the hill. (Well, my legs were kinda rubbery, so it prolly didn't look like much...) Still, dropped a few more riders, we were down to five, with one lap to go. At the top i decide to sit at the back and watch what happens. I didn't push it too hard on the previous climb, so i'm feeling pretty good...
The decent happens without incident, and we hit the wall again..... I gear down, and spin my way up... People are out of their saddles, hammering. I'm keeping up no prob...but then the dude in front of me slows down, and a couple other guys are blocking me on the left as they pass...arrrgh!!
I have to slow down to get around those wheels....i do, and i'm at the top of the steep part, with another 25m to go, still uphill!
I hammer it!!! Off i go, and people vanish...just me and that line...and then i hear heavy breathing on my left....and a slight 'whoosh' on my right...Dwayne and the young Oak Bay rider whistle past, fighting for the line. OB gets it by a wheel, and then i'm across...woot! 3rd place!!
All in all, a fantastic race. The climb isn't really *that* bad...certainly not worth the complaints i've heard... It's nasty, but very do-able. In the final sprint, i must have looked terrible tho.. Not only am i not used to sprinting out of the saddle (you stay seated in track,since you're spinning so much at high speeds, no gears), but i'm definitely NOT used to sprinting *uphill*. Ouch....explains how i misjudged the distance when i sprinted..heh..
My only complaint is the OB rider... The guy just sat in, 2-3 riders back the *whole* race. He never once took a pull..... I'll remember this next race.. He said 'let's have a rematch!' Oh yes, we shall. ;)
This course will suit anyone who's been doing a lot of intervals, because that's exactly what it is. Rest, rest, rest HAMMER, then repeat.
I haven't been doing intervals at all (besides certain track races, like Miss'n'Outs), so as someone who likes to just grind out a consistant pace, it's a real challenge.
I definitely enjoyed it tho, and will return! I'll have to try out some of the other road races as well, the others are much more flat, apparently...hopefully i'll be able to wear people into the ground on these..hehe
I'm guessing i'll be pretty beat for the track tomorrow night..but it's all sprint races, so i wouldn't likely do well anyway. Should be getting my new jersey tho, woohoo! New digs!