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I suck at road racing (race report)(7 posts)

I suck at road racing (race report)Sadlebred
Sep 13, 2003 7:25 PM
Race: Barnesville Buggy Days Omnium
Place: Barnesville, GA
Event: Time Trial
Distance: 5.5 miles
Speed: 20.0 mph
Time: 16:00 flat

The time trial course was a 5.5 mile half moon "loop" that started by registration and ended on the "far side" of the parking area. The first two miles were smooth road that pointed slightly downhill. A left turn took riders on a shake and bake section of road for about half a mile. The course turned left again onto a two lane road that was flat at the beginning and climbed gradually for the last half mile. It was about 70 degrees and slightly foggy for the Women's 1/2/3 time trial, almost perfect conditions for me. I had a realistic expectation set for myself of not finishing more than 3 minutes behind the next person in front of me. Time trailing is not my strength, as it involves nothing with dirt, rocks, or off roading. After preriding the course, I made it a goal to stay in my aerobars 90% of the time. I started out in my big ring and some little, itty, bitty gear on the back. I stood up for the first hundred yards or so to get a good start. Up! Up! Up! I sat down and settled into my aerobars. I shifted into a harder gear and settled into my rhythm. I thought about a favorite song that is a power song for me. I kept my cadence steady and breathing regular. I looked straight ahead. My legs were turning the pedals over quickly, so I went one gear harder until I hit the corner. I shifted up one, got in my drops, and sprinted around the corner. I grabbed the bottom of my aerobars very hard over the shake and back. I stayed towards the center of the road to avoid the worst of it. I took the second left turn feeling really good. If there is one thing I love about road riding (in addition to going downhill really fast), it is hitting a turn and diving into it. Going up the final road, my legs felt good, and my spin was smooth. I glanced to my right and saw several horses in a pasture, always a nice sight. They were not interested in the strange beings passing by on the road. I went into a harder gear and cruised down a slight downhill. I hit the climb feeling good. My legs were burning, but I was not about to go over the edge. I stood at the bottom of the climb to keep my momentum going up it. As the climb was not steep, I got back into my aerobars. I pulled on them hard in order to try to keep climbing quickly as I tend to pull on my handlebars whenever I climb. There was a slight dip in the middle of the climb, and it provided a momentary relief. The final section went by quickly. Almost as soon as it begun, I was done with the time trial. I was pleased with my effort.

part 2--the crit. I'm mad!Sadlebred
Sep 13, 2003 7:27 PM
The Crit
Don't ask about it.

I'm mad. I've very mad. I'm so mad at myself that I really, really wanted to cry today while I was racing. Why? I got discouraged. So discouraged that I nearly had a "girl moment" during today's crit. I'm a mountain biker, I'm a fighter. I'm not a quitter. Well, today I quit. I've been feeling really down about myself, my life, and my riding lately. Two months straight of dealing with 90 degree temperatures causing VCD (breathing/asthma) attacks. Two weeks of being sick, getting food poisoning, having to work late every night, and getting in virtually no quality training. How would I do? I felt good this morning but not when I got in the crit. I was not expecting it to be so hot after such a cool morning. I got to the starting line after a quick warm up with Donna. I felt fine during the warm up. After trying to find a racer we were missing, the officials told us to do one neutral lap and come back. We did not find her and rode back to the starting line. I got a good position in the middle on the first row. I knew that I needed to be near the front in order to be able to hang on as long as I could. With the fast ladies in the race, I knew that my time in the crit was shortlived, maybe only somewhat short lived if I felt good. We took off, and I was immediately on the back as we went single file into the first and second corners. I clung to the back as we hit turns 4 and 5. Going into the second lap, I moved half way up in the pack only to be spit to the back again as we swung around the corners. I had two choices-sit on the outside in the wind and take a longer line or sit at the back, draft, and deal with the accordion effect. I chose the later, which would be my downfall. Into the third lap, I sprinted away from every corner to keep up with the back of the pack. I moved up to second or third from last and would find myself in last by the end of the corner. I couldn't stay in the pack. On the fourth lap, the pace picked up from 21-22 mph to 23-24 mph, which is outside of my comfort zone. I clung on for dear life through the fifth lap and then sat up. My breathing began to get heavy and bother me. Rather than risk a full VCD attack, I decided to ride a lap hard by myself, recover, and get back in. I tried to get back in a few laps later but found myself not fully recovered. I immediately pulled off and sat up. I spun easily for about 5 minutes waiting for them to lap me again. I looked across the course and saw that the pack had settled in and was back at a more moderate pace. I knew I could hang in. As they passed me, I hopped on a few spots from the back. No sooner did I get back in, and the officials called a prime lap. I hung in until turn five when the pack took off. That's it. I was done. I was toast. I gave up. There was no point in even trying. Just rest, save my legs, and spin around to finish and get my omnium points. About 35 minutes into the race, they lapped me again. I pulled off the course to practice my cyclocross skills in the grass. Even though a few friends tried to cheer me on, all I wanted to do was cry. I cannot remember the last time I wanted to cry during a race. I was terribly discouraged. I tried my best to hold my tears back. "Breath. Don't quit. Breath. Don't quit. Breath. You are a mountain biker. Road isn't your thing. You suck at road racing. Breath. I really, really suck at road racing." Get upset and want to cry again. "Breath, Breath, Breath." I concentrated on my breathing and trying to stay upright on the bike. In the end, I got lapped 4 times, didn't cry, and took my frustration out on my wheel after the race. Much like my grandmother, I can throw things when I am mad. She chose dishes, I chose to use my front wheel like a Frisbee (making sure that no one was in the way, of course). It bounced a few times and stopped. Yes, I was acting like a child and knew it. Luckily, there was no one watching. I was so very, very mad at myself for giving up and not t
Part 3Sadlebred
Sep 13, 2003 7:30 PM
I was so very, very mad at myself for giving up and not trying. Then I became mad in general. After a few hours of sulking, I got mad at myself again.mad at myself for being angry with myself for giving up. Of course, when I get mad, I remind myself that I am a mountain biker and mountain bikers never quit. I called Donna and told her to pick me up. I was doing the road race the next day even if I got dropped in the first mile.
LOL..... good report! You can learn alot from this..........CARBON110
Sep 14, 2003 11:49 AM
You can gain alot out of this seemingly bad experience. Sounds like you have the rage (sometimes needed in racing) and want to ride. Thats good. Some suggestions to help you recognise success when you see it. Remember that Tom Danilson 3 years ago was dropping out of cat 4 races and finishing last. Now he is amazing. why? First off consider your scheduel before any event and set some goals. A goal could be a top 20 finish or just staying with the pack in alot of races. Its really easy to get discouraged by a bad performance. Don't be! There is no pressure on you to perform except that which you give yourself.
Do some research on how to train,build and peak for the time you have available to ride and race. This will help you immesurablely and take away the pressure. In the spring time when I have been hitting weights and riding 20 hour weeks all winter and Im having a hard time in a race in March or Feb I remind myself that people getting out of school have been racing all winterand I havent had any intensity and Im not peaking for another 3 months! So I keep my goals realistic and fun. It takes a few seasons to get good at racing or one season of alot of racing.
If you reflect on the last two weeks of your life its perfectly understandable why you may have had a bad performance. By the way Mtn Bikers make great Roadies and good mtn bikers spend alot of time on the road :)

But always enjoy being in ze Peloton! O work on throwing H2O bottles instead of wheels :)
Part 3flyinbowlofmilk
Sep 14, 2003 4:44 PM
Even though you had to quit or give up in a crit . You still did your best. besides 2 or 3 days of racing will take a lot out of you. Just ask any of the other racer about it. And then you look at me Sadlebred. I have a irregular heartbeat and I still keep on trying. Even though I may finish 2 or 3 places from dead last ,at least I can say that I finish it. I finish my 1st TT this year in a 1:14 ,that not to mention that I was hurting very bad from my butt down. And you had aero bars on your bike I didn't have no aero bars. I survived it and now I will look forward to shaving some time of my 1st TT. So cheer you Saldebred. You don't suck at Road racing ,I do . But I am still trying and still getting better. As for the rest I will have to agree with Carbon 110.


Practice corneringKerry Irons
Sep 14, 2003 5:50 PM
Your experience with a crit is very common for newer racers. There is a tendency to not be able to flow well through the corners and therefore expend a lot of extra energy. I remember a race a couple of years ago where a riding buddy was all over the road while I just sat on the wheels. He complained that "you're not even breathing hard" while he was exhausted from being out of the draft and having to hammer out of each corner. Practice cornering by yourself and with your friends until you're comfortable holding the line at speed in a tight group. It's amazing how much energy you can save by learning this. Don't give up - many have trod your path before and come out smiling when things clicked for them.
Practice corneringSadlebred
Sep 14, 2003 6:28 PM
Thanks for the advice guys. I haven't been on this board long, but I've been racing for over 7 years--mountain bikes that is. I took up road racing last year and won a bunch of Cat. 4 races, so I upgraded at the end of last season. Part of the problem this year is that I decided to have fun riding my bike rather than focus on racing and training. I'm glad I did! After 4 years of seriously training, watching what I eat, only riding to train, not riding w/my friends b/c I had to train and do a specific workout, I needed a year off from serious racing. Needless to say, I'm not in top shape right now. This race and a mtb race last weekend are the "kick start" to try to peak in Dec. for Cyclocross Nationals. I took time off from racing this summer, so that I would not be burned out since I knew I'd be racing through Dec. Hopefully, I can time my peak almost exactly 3 months from now. I'm a MUCH better mountain bike racer than road racer. Next year will be heavy with mountain bike races again.

I'll post the road race report as soon as I have a chance to write it.

PS Cornering is one of my strengths :) I've been complimented on it in the past. I LOVE diving into the corners. I'm just slower than the other girls!