So I've been on a new local racing team since its inception just a little over a year ago. I hadn't really thought a whole lot about racing at first, but I rode with the people a lot, and they seemed to want me to join, so after some hemming and hawing I figured why not. Since then I've continued doing several of the group rides, and I still ride around by myself a lot too. Just the other day though, I finally got my official USCF license in the mail.
Why a poseur you ask? Well, I don the full kit at every opportunity (jersey, shorts, windbreaker jacket, socks, and this year we're getting gloves too), so I certainly look the part clothing-wise. It's also very nice gear (Castelli/Squadra), so I like it more than most of the other stuff I have. I'm now an official cat. 5 with a team (ok, club technically) affiliation too. The thing is, I really suck.
I did my first race last October. What was scheduled to be a 42 mile cat. 4/5 road race got shortened to 28 miles, and I still only hung on to the pack for the first 5. Don't get me wrong, that was a fun 5 miles, but I got yo-yoed out the back at one of the turns after falling farther and farther back in the pack. I didn't place, finishing about 10 minutes behind the leaders, but at least I finished, and I wasn't last. Nevertheless, had it been the full 42 miles I most likely would've bailed. I was hurting so bad that once I finished I pulled over to the side and basically collapsed on the ground for 20 minutes. I hurt for at least 24 hours after that, bit I didn't even manage to break a 20 mph average (came within two-tenths).
Most, if not all, of our training rides see me getting dropped at some point, especially if there are hills involved. Did I mention I weigh 240 lbs? Why don't we have a clydesdale category for road races anyway? Usually I'm needing to take advantage of urban shortcuts, or out-and-back rides to hook back up with everybody. I'm certainly a huge amount better than I was when I started riding again 3 years ago, but many times I think to myself, "why on earth am I wearing this stuff and riding with these people?" I actually feel quite embarrassed sometimes when zig-zagging up a hill at 5 mph or struggling to chase down the pack on some country road while wearing the team kit.
Call me oversensitive, but I sure do feel like a poseur sometimes.