My first bike race of the season didn’t suck! Woo-hoo! That’s really all I ask.
I ended up finishing the race, which is a big improvement on last year’s first race, and I stayed with the main pack up until the last 2 laps (out of 17 or 18 laps, I’m not sure). At that point somebody decided to sprint off the front, the pack surged forward to catch him, and I couldn’t keep up. I might have stayed with them, but I was on the wheel of a guy who couldn’t keep the pace, and when I went around him to try to catch up, I hit a head wind and couldn’t do it.
But going into the race, I had no idea whatsoever what I’d be able to do. Last year for my first few races, I didn’t finish, or I finished so far off the back of the pack that it hardly counted as a finish. I’ve done a lot more riding this year than last, so I thought I might do better, but I had no real idea how much training the other riders have been doing or who most of the other riders would be.
So I went into it hoping just to hang on as long as I could. When I’d ridden a couple of laps without feeling like I was going to die or throw up, I relaxed a bit and thought I might be able to do okay. After that, I told myself to try to hang on for five more minutes — just five! — and after that I told myself to hang on another five minutes, and another, up until the end (the whole thing was about 40 minutes). At that point, many of the guys in the pack still had energy left to sprint, but I most definitely did not, so I wasn’t surprised they left me behind. And there were a bunch of guys who fell behind much earlier than I did — I don’t like to have that competitive attitude, but — it’s really nice to be faster than at least a few people.
It was a cold day, although not colder than one might expect in early March, low 30s in the morning. But it felt much colder than that when I finished my race and stayed to cheer on the Hobgoblin and other teammates. Clouds blew in and covered the sun and the wind picked up, and I stood there shivering, wearing the Hobgoblin’s jacket, wishing it were spring. I like watching bike races, but I’ll like it more when it’s warm.
Oooh — one of my teammates just sent me an email telling me I rode a good race today! My teammates are awesome.