Rookiest Rook

Posted in cycling, racing by antisociology on August 15, 2009

I just got back from the CRCA men’s race clinic. This was effectively my first mass start bicycle race. The good news is that I had a lot of fun and am now more interested than ever in starting to race the bike. Still, I’m a bit disappointed in myself for making the classic rookie mistake of staying in the wind too much.

On the second lap (it was a three lap race), the field got strung out in a line and I got caught out on the side. I eventually got back in behind someone right before the dip leading up to Harlem Hill. Apparently, I didn’t learn my lesson, though. At the start of the third lap, two or three guys went off the front up Cat Hill. I was able to go after them and bridge up to some Litespeed-guy (never caught his name). I pulled through and kept looking under my arm to see if he was there and willing to work with me. For a while, he was there…I kept waiting for him to come forward…and then he wasn’t there anymore. Interestingly, I got to experience firsthand how hard it is to actually shift properly when you’re giving it some real gas. My fingers kept fumbling and shifting an extra gear up or down.

So, at this point, it’s better to get back with the field and recover. I sat up and waited for the field to catch me, hoping to hop in near the front and recover. That never happened. I was never able to find a good slot and got stuck in the wind again. At the foot of Harlem Hill, the inevitable attack started and I just couldn’t make my bike go uphill after the last mile of shenanigans. Bam. I went right off the back like a prom dress.

The funny thing is, I always thought I was a pretty patient runner. The half-marathon and 10k events I was so fond of demanded patience. Perhaps it’s just a matter of getting back into racing. Well, that’s what your first season is for. Learning to move around the pack and figuring out what you need to work on. Nobody starts anything knowing everything.

So there we have it. There are three more CRCA club races this year and I’m tempted to sign up now so that I can do them.

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