Yesterday I rode my first race, the first in the series of Early Bird Criteriums. The race is structured with a one hour mentoring program, followed by a 40 minute crit.
The mentoring session went well, with drills covering rotating single and double pacelines, cornering lines, and generally getting comfortable riding in close proximity.
The race came up, and I settled in to the pack. I knew it was only a matter of time before I dropped off the back, however, since I was going near my limit just to stay with the bunch. After about 10-15 minutes, I couldn't keep it up any longer and dropped off the back of the pack.
The race was set up as a training criterium, so I was allowed to soft pedal and catch back on with the bunch when they lapped me. I jumped back in to the pack, and about 30 seconds later came the only crash during the race - ahead of me and off to my right. I didn't see much other than tires where there should have been helmets, and the sounds of sliding metal. The race settled down a bit at this point, and I was milling through the pack until 3 laps to go. I called down to the engine room, but all I got was Scotty telling me "I canna do et, cap'n!". I finished the final 2.5 laps alone, figuring it was a good workout to try and get my fitness up to where it obviously needs to be.
I'll be back next week, ready to suffer like a dog again.