Race Number One was a revelation.
Well, a bunch of revelations, actually, the first of which was holy shit these guys ride fast.
That piece of news came in about 30 seconds off the starting line when the peloton took off like a 65-deep greyhound race, at which point I realize I'm in way over my head. Not a good feeling
I managed to hang on the back for about a lap and then got dumped out the back with the slow guys. We formed into a few impromptu paceline alliances to help each other out, but they tended to break up and re-form as people lost and found their legs, so a good half of my race was essentially a time trial. And did I mention the lashing rain that hit around lap 8, to go along with the crushing headwind that only hit on the course's big climbs? (The wind was a bastard but actually I didn't mind the rain.)
By lap 3 (the course was just under 5 km) my lungs were burning, my legs were screaming, my HRM was showing me a number I normally associate with hard hill repeats, and I'm pretty sure I've blown well past my lactate threshold. And I'm not even close to keeping up.
Somewhere around lap 5, I seriously considered dropping out. I mean, it was ridiculous, there was no way I was ready for this. I'm not exactly sure why I didn't. Stubbornness, partly. (Old guys are good at that, bloody-mindedness is one of our few advantages.) But I think I wanted some kind of small victory out of it. Because if I had to come back to my next race without having even finished this one it would feel like I was starting at square one, again. But if I finished, that at least was something to build on. Even if I was dead last. Which I wasn't. So... Woot woot!
And I left motivated to do better next time.
|(Hey, as far as I'm concerned if you're DNF – did not finish – I beat you. Even if you're Bradley Wiggins and got a flat.)|