Hey! I didn't completely suck.
It was cold but not raining and not too windy. I got to the park at about 8:20 for the 9:00 race. The pen was shaking in my hand as I filled out the forms and handed over my money. I ran back to the car to throw on my leg warmers and another base layer. It was chilly. Almost no time to warm up.
And we're off. Roughly seventy riders (I think) on a beautiful course through Whitnall Park. Trees are starting to get their leaves, the grass is that lush, spring green, and no time to enjoy any of it. Perfect. A hill, a false flat, a nice fast downhill section, another hill. Nice.
After a couple of laps I looked down at my computer. It was off. It shut down at the start line and I hadn't remembered to press the button. It was better that way, actually. I didn't know how fast we were going and if I had seen the numbers, I think my legs would have told me that I shouldn't be going that fast. So I left it alone.
My goals for the day? Sit in the back, stay out of the wind, don't get dropped. Okay, that's not much of a strategy. I mean, it's great if you want to come in 50th (and 50th is a huge step up for me), but not if you want to be anywhere near the top.
So it was going well, but half way though the race I started to get bored. Sure I was keeping up with the group for the first time ever. But I guess I was waiting for the front of the group to start pulling away, at which point I was going to jump to the outside and grab the last wheel on the front. It never happened. So I tried working my way around the group. That wasn't happening either. At least not on the outside. Not if I wanted to stay out of the wind.
The last two laps were really fun. Three riders went off the front, and the group really picked it up. The speed was fantastic with guys started moving up and back, trying to get any kind of position. And on the last lap there was a crash a few places in front and to the right of me.
And then the sprint. That was crazier than I expected. A water bottle went flying over my head. The whole group splintered. I picked it up but didn't give it everything. Not much point in sprinting for 30th. Or 40th. Or whatever.
Anyway, it was extremely fun. Results aren't up yet, so I don't quite know how I did.
I was pretty happy, but I need to get a lot stronger and more confident on the bike. Smarter would be good too.