Well this was my first road race, I have to admit it wasn't exactly what I expected. In my mind (though I wasn't going to admit it) I thought I could possibly just go out and leave the majority of the field. I had saw all of the graphs about average power to weight ratios per cat, mine is pretty much equal to a cat 3. Since I was entering a cat 5 no problem right........wrong!!!!
This race was originally supposed to be a 30 mile race, three loops each ten miles long. Once we got there we found out that it was going to be four loops eight miles long, no big deal. It ended up being four laps 9.5 miles long and pretty much flat, a total of about 38 miles. The weather was in the mid 40's with 20 mph winds with 30 mph gusts, that made it interesting.
Anyway, on to the details. The officials put the cat 5's, juniors, vets, and women together. We all started off rather easy and headed off into the wind. About 7 miles in there was a section about a mile long that people really took off. I think we hit about 30 mph in that section. We dropped a few of the riders including my buddy that I was traveling with. The suffering only lasted a couple of minutes until we made a turn that put us back into the wind. That was about the end of the first lap. The second lap was pretty uneventful as was the third until I had a guy come over and give my bars a pretty good tap. A gust of wind pushed him right into me, definately got my attention. At this point I was still amazed at how strong the riders were in a cat 5 race, I was just hoping to finish with the pack.
Well, now it's time for the forth lap. This was a pretty slow lap since most people were fighting for position. This road race thing is basicly a rolling chess game on two wheels. Much different than the mountain bike races I'm used to. The first couple of laps I had been stuck on the inside with no place to go. I knew that I was going to spend most of this lap on the outside, I hadn't really planned on pulling for over 1/2 of the lap though. At times I did get down to about 12 mph, no one would pass. Can't blame them, they were either exhausted or saving for the finish. About 4.5 miles into the lap me and another guy found ourselves in a breakaway, this was a total accident. We both decided to set up and let the peleton catch back up. It was too windy to make anything stick at this point. With about two miles to go things started getting interesting. There were a couple of attempts at breakaways, I just did my best to follow each of them.
With about 1 mile to go there were four of us out front. It stayed like this for about 1/2 mile. With 1/2 mile to go one of the guys finished his pull and sat back. The guy behind him just sat up for some reason. I decided to go. I looked back and no one came with me, I didn't think I had a chance at getting it to stick, especially when I had to hit my brakes and ask a cop which way I had to turn. I just started pedaling again and hoping for the best. The finish was a slight uphill grade with a little bit of a headwind. I finished about five to ten yards ahead of second place. I couldn't believe it, I had won my first race!
I must say I was a little dissapointed in the prize. After spending around $200 to get to the race and enter it, then busting my butt in the race the prize for first was two bottle cages. However more important then the prize is the satisfaction and knowing how I did.
Anyway, after all of that I had to get back into the truck and drive about five hours to get to Sunday's race.