I have now raced in my first road race, well I guess you can say raced but it was more like entered. Looking at the profile leading up to the race I knew there would be a few good hills. I was not overly worried about them since I have some routes that are similar in elevation gain. I was going in to the weekend not sure how well I would ride because it was two weeks since I could really get on the bike. I did spend 20 min. on the rollers a week ago, but that was not near what I wanted to do.
So, I didn’t expect to be running up front at all, but I thought I would maybe stay with the second group or so. The start was going along ok, I was in the lead pack and not working any harder then I wanted to. We were moving at a fair pace, but I expected that. Well along came the first big climb. Half way up the climb my hear rate decided to peak out and render me just about shot. I slowed to a crawl and could have fell over at any minute. I finally made it to the top and settled in to a decent pace. Looking around I could not see any riders in front or behind me. I knew there were some riders behind me, but not sure how many. My legs were starting to hurt on a long flat section. My calf muscles were feeling like they were going to cramp!! I look down to see how far I had gone only to see 5.5 miles. How the heck can I be cramping already?? It felt like I hit a brick wall and really struggled for a little bit. Time seemed to stand still for a while, but that is because my trip showed 5.5 miles for a real long time. I knew I went farther then that so after a little checking I figured out that it stopped recording so I hit the start button again and everything was back to normal. Except I was feeling shot and had no idea just how far I was.
At one point I could see another section of road and could tell there was a group of four riders in front of me, but they were a long was up there. When I reached where they were, I could see one rider behind me just about as far back as I am of the riders in front of me. I pushed it as hard as I could to try and catch up to the other riders, but I could not get any closer. It didn’t help with the strong head wind I was getting and they were working as a group.
Right before the half way point I reached an all time low. I was thinking that my seat was a little low for some reason. I began to think that might be part of my problem with my leg strength so on a hill that was just about to kill me, I decided to get off and walk. I hate to admit it, but I did. This was the first time I had ever had to walk my road bike. Almost at the top there was a section painted in the road that said half way. That made my computer almost 4 miles off, but at least I now had an idea of where I was. At the top I took this moment to catch my breath and raise me seat a little. Shortly after I took off, I downed my gel packet that I was wanting to wait till I was closer to the big hill but I could not wait any more.
I was feeling a little better for awhile, but I was still far from feeling good. I did alright until I hit the big hill that I knew would be a problem. I almost made it to the top and could not go any more, so I had to hold my head down and do a little more walking. At this point the rider behind me caught me and made it up the hill. I got back on and climbed the next little hill and managed to catch the other rider. This was the first positive thing in my ride. I had been so lonely and hurting it was really nice to ride with someone else. I road with them for a while and then some time after the 10k to go sign, I some how dropped the rider on a climb. I just tried to ride the best I could for the remainder of the race and ended up finishing where I was. I actually don’t know where that was, but I think it is between 15th and 20th. I will not be sure until some results are posted. We waited around for probably 3 hours to see the results, but it was still not figured and I was ready to be home and still had a 4+ hour drive.
Over all it was a great race and had some great volunteers. The sad part is it was the absolute worst day of riding I had ever had on my road bike. I have not made up my mind if I want to come back next year, but I need to figure out why I had one of my weakest rides of the year on that day!