Although I don't plan on listing my results for every race I do, being it's my first season of racing, I felt it might be beneficial to those other newbies out there to see how improvement comes as you gain experience. I can tell you that my progression through three races (CAT 5) has been significant, and that I find myself falling deeper and deeper for the sport as I improve. Here's a comparison of my first three races:
- Housatonic Hills Road Race: 27 miles - 1500+ ft of climbing - 40 of 56 - dropped on first major climb - finished solo
- Union Vale Road Race: 44 miles - 4900+ ft of climbing - 51 of 64 - dropped midway through 2nd of three laps - finished solo
- Capital Region Road Race: 50 miles - 4000+ ft of climbing - 16 of 53 - did NOT get dropped!! - finished in group of 4 - outsprinted fellow rider by one wheel length
Key point here, for me, is that my results improved each time out. I could easily have become discouraged after getting dropped early in the first race, but I kept with it, and it's starting to pay off. My advice to any new racer out there is to realize that chances are you will have a difficult initiation to the sport, but that is just a part of the learning curve. Whether you DNF or get dropped, use it as a learning experience.
I started using a heart rate monitor to structure my training since the Union Vale Road Race in July. I have noticed a marked improvement since, and find it controlls my efforts much better than by percieved exertion.