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Doubts about my first road race in 2 weeks(10 posts)

Doubts about my first road race in 2 weekshrv
Feb 19, 2002 9:37 AM
I know that I should only think positive, reinforcing thoughts but I'm starting to have doubts about whether I should enter my first ever road race in 2 weeks.

It's a 4 lap, 44 mile loop around a lake and I think the most distance I can put together at speed is about 20 miles, so I'm thinking I'll be doing the last half of the race solo; I might as well stay home and keep training. I started riding in September and I'm going to race in February; does that sound crazy? I have been doing 2 rides each week of 40 - 60 miles, but fairly mellow.

Am I expressing common doubts? Would you train more and wait before entering this race if you were me? Should I just look at it as a fast group ride , and even if I end up solo, ride hard,finish, and enjoy the increased fitness that will come from the experience?

I'm 46 and realize that my time has come and gone to be really strong, esp. in a general cat 4/5 group. But if I don't try now it will be much harder next year, etc.

Sharing your first race experience might be helpful!

re: Doubts about my first road race in 2 weeksRayBan
Feb 19, 2002 10:20 AM
You know something? Out of all the races I have ever done I NEVER felt I was ready for them. I say go for it and see how far you can stay with them. I bet you surprise yourself... Enjoy the increased fitness that comes from the experience.
re: Doubts about my first road race in 2 weeksbrider
Feb 19, 2002 10:25 AM
Pack riding is physically less demanding, but more mentally demanding, than riding solo. If you're tense, you'll tire quicker. But no matter how much training you do, your first few races will be BIG learning experiences. Give it a shot. As you said, the worst thing that can happen (well, not REALLY the worst, but let's not go there) is you get dropped and finish solo. But I do think your training of only two rides a week of 40-60 miles is a little slim. Some people may be able to hang with the pack on that training, but I know I'm not one of them. What's going to spit you off the back more than anything is CHANGES in speed, not the speed itself. Go for it with the race, try to learn something, and JOIN A TEAM! You'll climb the learning curve much quicker, and have some more structured training (as well as volume). Oh yeah, and try to enjoy it. :)
first road race in 2 weeksallervite
Feb 19, 2002 10:49 AM
Your doubts are not irrational. You are probably not going to win this race. However, you should definately ride to win this race. Develop some type of strategy and then come up with a few alternatives. Your goals should not be to just finish. That is no goal. You could do that with no skill and very little training. Winning is not your goal either. Your goal is to race as well as you can. Stay in the draft when it is wise to do so. Attack if the opportunity presents itself. Stay relaxed but alert. Spin circles. If you get droppeed and you probably will. finish the race for the training and with the pride that you raced as well as you could have. There is always next time and next time will be easier and even more fun.

It took me 5 hours to finish my first cycling race. It was the dreaded Lemurian MTB Race in Norcal. I rode on the weekends with a bunch of racers and had good skills but little fitness. I kept up fine on the weekend rides, but a race is a whole nother animal. My buddies talked me into skipping the beginner class and racing the full course with the sport class. When I finished almost everyone had already left, but I finished.
first road race in 2 weeks and moreThe General
Feb 20, 2002 7:10 AM
Didn't get back to you on your other post, sorry about that. The Cherry Pie was a fun race, I got to play Domestice (spell?) for another team mate since I wasn't sure where my fitness was. It turned out to be a great race and we placed one guy in the top 6 at the finish of the 3/4/5's. I finsihed about 30th and felt good for helping out a teammate to the finsish line.

I have not road at Hagg lake but here it is a fairly flat course compared to around Eugene.

I have found from the few road races I have done in the NW that they are pretty mellow. You have to make a decision if your going to be up front competing for a top 20 finish or if you are going to be in back fodder. Nothing wrong with the latter, you more or less just ride along and enjoy the ride and work of the others. Be ready for the surges of the pack when someong attacks off the front. If you are feeling spunky and want to go for a break, go for it. the 4/5 race's are great practice and most guys are not paying enough attention to each other to chase some of the breaks down.
If you get dropped plan to finish, when you drop out the only person that regrets it is you. Most of the time there is a group that just rides the race as a group. You can hook up with them and have fun.

Most of all have fun and don't let someone ruin your experience. There will be a$$holes and they will do thier best to ruin your ride. ignore them and enjoy yourself.

I am on the EWEB Windpower team, you can't miss us we have the green and white checkered uniforms.

hope you make it, look me up if you do.

first road race in 2 weeks and morehrv
Feb 20, 2002 9:42 AM
Appreciate the reply. Sounds like a great road race to start your season. I did end up going to the Nike ride last Saturday. It was a benefit for the LA foundation and B.I.K.E. ( something like bikes for kids empowerment). They trucked in a bunch of bikes for some inner city kids to ride and seeing the smiles on their faces is something I'll never forget, esp. on the descents. Oh yeah, got to ride with some USPS guys.

Hagg Lake is rolling hills to me, and at my fitness level, it will not take long for them to seem steep. There is one 90 degree corner that turns onto the dam that is going to require(me at least) to slow way down, but other than that nothing really technical. Just hope they sweep the gravel off the road before the race.

Our team kits will not come in until March so just look for the guy with the blue Spec. Allez. Going to do the Jack Frost Time Trial next Sunday, and wanted to do the Estacada time trial but I didn't think it was wise since it is the day before the Banana Belt. I'm not a stage racer just yet!

Thanks again and have a great race,
re: Doubts about my first road race in 2 weeksmerckx56
Feb 20, 2002 8:12 AM
take your lumps and be happy with them. sit in as much as possible. you can't do well if you aren't there at the end!
do no work! let the hammerhead morons take the big pulls while you stay tucked in the group. never get out of the top 1/3 of the field though. if you are in the back when a move goes, you will ride home alone. you can't expect the world in five short months!
as for first race experience, 16 years ago at 15 y.o., i got into a juniors race and quickly lapped the field, but then again, i had been riding for a year and had been riding with the men in the "racing" group.
Entering racing is like becoming a parentTig
Feb 22, 2002 11:16 AM
We are never really completely ready to race. We could always use a little more strength, general fitness, stamina, handling skills, etc... Wow, that already sounds like parenting! When are we ever really ready to be a parent? There is a usually a general time range or personal development phase we should be at to make it work out and everything else just somehow catches up, like on the job training. If we were to wait until everything is just right (finances, personal growth, the right time in the relationship, etc.), we would never have kids!

The same goes with racing. You could keep on training, perfecting your abilities so that you would become some lethal peleton projectile, but by then several years could pass and you would have missed out on so many races and real life learning experiences. I know that is not what you are doing, but I needed an exagerated example to use. The best training for racing is racing.

Sure, you can start racing before you are really ready, but that is something that is hard to know from the outside. As the weather gets better and daylight savings changes, try riding 2 more days a week. I only ride Tues/Thur/Sat/Sun and manage to get in some quality training and distance. As long as you can ride safely and comfortably in a group, you should do fine. Read LoneFrontRanger's earlier posts to pick up valuable tips. Have fun, ride safe, learn lots!
Thanks. I definitely am not ready now! (long)hrv
Feb 26, 2002 9:13 AM
Thanks for the responses. Under normal circumstances they would have me pumped up and ready to jam. But....

I'm in a state of fatigue right now (over-reaching, training, burnout, not enough base, who knows) and doing this race at this time would possibly put me over the edge. For the last month or so my body has been telling me I need more than one day a week off and I haven't been listening. Even though some of those days have only been 10 miles or less they have always included hard hills and at my level made for a workout day.

I'll give you an example. I had my first ever time trial a couple days ago. Felt listless, tired, not totally stoked. Results showed it. So what do I do the week before? Let's see:

Sunday: 54 mile group ride, hardest ever, 24 mph paceline. Went home and died on couch afterwards.
Monday: Weights. Heavy, including squats and leg presses.
Tuesday: Intervals on trainer for 1.5 hours
Wednesday: Fast ride at work for 40 minutes. Also very heavy weight lifting in evening : squats, leg presses.
Thursday: Intervals on trainer 1.5 hours;
Friday: 2 short rides 6 miles each, in aerobars.
Saturday: 25 mi. group ride, got dropped first half; many sprints 2nd half.
Sunday: 12.6 mi. time trial. Don't want to talk about it! All I can say is if I was a junior girl I would have rocked!

My wife has been out of town on family business for almost a month and I've been riding/training my brains out, literally. Listening to my body has never been one of my strong points( a guy thing?) but now it has been forced on me. I'm on my 2nd day of rest and when I look back at my journal my best days have been after taking off at least 2 days. At this point I'm my own best coach; I don't even know if I want to swim and risk raising my heart rate too much. But when I do get back to riding again , I'm going to take it slow and build up again.

Yes, I'll probably never feel ready to race, but feeling fatigue even before the race starts and still doing the race is stupid, and even though I have proven I'm a moron, I'm not going to do it again!

Thanks again and you guys rule!
time to taper?Tig
Feb 26, 2002 11:05 AM
It sounds like you have been pushing yourself at loads that can't be sustained. Now you can feel it, eh? I'd say it's time to slow everything down and taper, even if you don't do the race. Don't completely stop though. Lighten the workouts and try some MUCH easier rides. When you start feeling better, ease back into more energetic riding and you might be pleasantly surprised by the gains you've made. To continue your past pace will lead to burnout, injury, or at least a plateau.