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Race Report - My first real road race, bleh(3 posts)

Race Report - My first real road race, blehMarlon
Jul 16, 2001 7:39 AM
First "larger-than-a-criterium" road race, only 42km for the novice (Cat 5) men, but it was a loaded 42 klicks of climbs, descents, and fun.

The day started off fairly overcast – at one point, there was a faint drizzle, which did not look promising. Still, I'd already pre-registered and I was not going to let some stupid rain get the better of me. I arrived about an hour early and after grabbing my registration kit, I got my bike ready, and decided to wait up for my teammates, doing a little bit of warming up, but holding back as I thought I could wait up for my partners to get here to go through stuff with them. 40 minutes later, I'm dancing around like a frog on a hot frying pan, desperately trying to get my teammates ready as they raced around getting registration materials. They almost trashed their mini-van in their haste to scramble to the race! Things were not looking good...

One last tightening of quick-releases, and we were off to the start, jockeying for position. Things were a bit dicey, as the start was uphill, leading into a good 5km climb, but I felt okay about it. Everything looked good, except for me not being fully warmed up, and then it was the start. and I wasn't moving anywhere. I fell off my bike, stumbled around like a stunned deer, and attempted to climb back on. Suddenly, this little tyke appeared next to me, and said in the cutest-kid voice ever, "your chain's off, mister." 15 seconds later, I was literally making like a raped monkey up the side of a mountain, hill-climbing for all that I was worth. "Last off the Start". That was all I could think of, and it stunk. At that point, I lived only to rejoin the pack, never mind if I would be pissing blood afterwards, I had to get back on! 5km down the road and 120m of vertical later, I fleetingly saw the pack accelerate down the other side and knew my solo effort was going to be shot. This was going to stink, big time. On top of all that, unknown to me at the time, I had so seriously torqued out at the start that a link in my chain had stiffened, causing my derailleur to blip and skip every few pedal revolutions. I saw one of my teammates in a small group slightly back on me, and immediately joined to get a paceline back to the pack. However, these folk were seriously inexperienced, and despite exhorting them to go harder, coupled with various comments about their dubious parentage and choice of animals for copulation, I took off; my teammate in the group, a non-climber at best, decided to hang back and make up time come the descents. Thus began my one-man effort for the Perfect Time-Trial; or how I caught up to various small groups, worked them until they died, and took off when I felt I was rested enough. Climbing was no serious problem – I actually lost quite a few people on the climbs, and although I was hurting, it seemed that my pain took me farther than others. What pissed me off was that invariably, they caught me on the descents. In the end, my best was not enough – I came in 30th overall, 7 minutes behind the pack. Team tactics, although great, completely fell apart, and on the hills, I learned that it was every man (or woman!) for themselves.

So, that was my first real road race. Fun. I learned that I'm a natural climber, and that on descents I totally stink. I also learned that if I lose my chain again on the start, I am going to shoot myself. And that was how my weekend went.
re: Race Report - My first real road race, blehLardog
Jul 16, 2001 12:34 PM
Thanks for the great report. I'm sure you'll soon get better and better.
interestingDuane Gran
Jul 17, 2001 4:15 AM
Fun race report, man. I know what you mean about people who show up at the last minute. I have a few of them on my team, and invariably at every race someone's head is on fire over some issue. In all fairness, I once had a race where a mechanical issue surfaced 10 minutes before the start and I was swapping pedals on a teammates bike as the race director was giving instructions on the line.

I have learned that the best way I can be helpful to my teammates is by personally being ready in advance. Hopefully everything works out in the end, but I don't like it if someone's lack of preparation cuts into my mental or physical preparation for the event.