It was March, it was around 1PM and I was warming up for my first race, ever. A couple of laps confirmed what I had worried about, it was a tight circuit, going to be stupidly quick and I wasn’t feeling too good after a week off the bike. Damn.
So I was in the bunch to start, predictably near the back and to the side. I spotted a couple more youths that I wouldn’t see again that day. After some confusion with how long the race was, we were off. First lap and there was already a few scary moments through some of the gaps we had to negotiate, which was silly in my opinion, having to brake without a corner being there. Pace was about 20mph with about 70 feet of climbing per mile. I knew I couldn’t hold that in my state back then and it wasn’t long until there was a gap between myself and the last wheel, about 3 miles or so.
Although it was quite demoralising being dropped so early on, I had to take something out of it. It was the hardest I’d ever worked for a course like that so I had something to gauge my training against. I also had the experience of being in a bunch of 40 riders for the first time, that alone was worth the entry fee. Slowly but surely I began to work my way round to a positive feeling and I was able to become motivated again.
I now look forward to next year and the early races which are slightly foggy and cold and that feeling of not knowing what is to come in a long season. Until then though, we have the winter to look forward to, the cold starts with discourage other road users, the long miles with clubmates and trying to warm the hands up after the gloves you thought were warm, weren’t.