Since everyone else is posting about his or her 1st road race experience, I thought Iíd put my $.02 in. Iíve raced my mountain bike on many occasions including several 24-hour races, but Iíd yet to turn a pedal in anger in a real road racing situation Ö until last evening.
I did a crit race that was run on a Ĺ mile banked oval. This oval has a bit of an elevation change right @ the start/finish line just to make the sprints interesting. I raced in the Cat-5 group, as this was my first road race. My ambition was simply to stay with the field (read: donít get dropped!), and get some experience moving around in the group. Shockingly, I didnít have any trouble staying with the group, and actually went off the front a few times by myself, and several other times with small groups.
Instinct kicked in on the 1st lap as 2 riders jumped off the front. I couldnít seem to stop myself from bridging the gap, and riding along. All the while, I could hear a little voice in my head screaming ďYou Fool!Ē, but I continued regardless as to common sense. The field eventually swallowed us up, and I played around in the group for a while before taking a few more stabs off the front. They also score MARs (most aggressive rider) points @ the start/finish line. So, every lap, there was a sprint @ the line which made it very interesting.
Something I didnít anticipate was the banked turns. Iíve no experience on them, and it showed through the first 4, or 5 laps. Finally, I got onto looking well ahead, and around the turn, while using my peripheral vision to keep from punting the wheel directly in front of me. I felt relatively good the entire race, and had a fantastic time! In the end, I made a rookie mistake, and ended up being totally blocked in on the last lap, and really didnít get to contest the sprint. With that mistake, I finished 16th of 25 riders, but was very satisfied with that performance. I canít wait to do it again!
Iíll also post a pic. Thatís me in the green jersey in one of my few attempts @ getting off the front.