My First Race
Written by Squirrel Hunter
So how does racing compare to those weekend touring rides? Memorial Day weekend I raced the 50k Citizens class at The Great Race in Elkhart. The morning starts out with an hour drive giving me plenty of time to waffle back and forth between confidence and apprehension.
After registering and getting my bike ready I got to watch groups of USCF racers take off every five minutes, making me question the wisdom of my choice to go racing this weekend.
Finally it was the moment of truth, rolling to the start line and listening to the official’s instructions. Then the lead car pulled away and I was racing!
I found my spot eight to ten riders back. This was close enough to the front to keep an eye out for any successful breakaways and also to avoid trouble further back where some of the riders with poor handling skills were riding. I followed the advice from some of the 3RVS racers, never work without a reason. With this in mind I avoided moving to the front to take my pull, opting to let others do the work, while I hung out eight to ten riders back. The other advice I received was to relax, which is hard to do riding four abreast at 25mph plus, especially when you occasionally bumped into another rider. A couple of times I heard the sounds of metal as someone farther back in the pack would rub a wheel, then panic and go down.
So how does racing compare to those weekend touring rides? Remember when you are feeling good and you sprint for that town line once in a while? Try maintaining that pace for an hour. Remember when you look at your computer after a ride and it shows an average of 20mph? Me neither, but this day my average was 24mph. Remember how you move to the front every so often to take your pull on a club ride? Don’t do it, just be a wheelsucker. Remember how much fun you have when you have a great ride? That’s what racing is like, FUN!