today was my first road race: 45 miles, one climb per 20mi lap, and lots of wind.
Everything started great, I was sitting in or near the front for the first 10 miles or so, thinking that this was a lot easier than expected. I was taking very long pulls and tested the other riders a few times by breaking off the front for a few minutes. I was expecting this to be a very good day and we made a sharp right with a nice downhill. I reached for a goo and was taking my time slurping it down when the pack decided it was time to go. I was instantly dropped by what seemed to be most of the pack, totally caught off guard.
It took me around five miles of very hard effort to catch up to the pack, as I was chasing I could see those riders near the back coasting for periods of time, and I couldnt stop wishing I had the luxury. I got a short rest with the group as we passed the end of lap one and headed up the climb. A group attacked on the climb and my legs couldnt hang with the main group, I was their first victim.
I could see riders scattered every hundred yards or so and I started catching them one by one, then helping pull them up. After a few miles we had a group of 8 or 10 doing a nice paceline and could see the main pack up ahead. Near the end of the second lap we were withing 50 yards or so of the pack, but I couldnt take it anymore and the paceline pulled away from me. I saw them catch the group at the bottom of the hill and then the group was torn appart on the hill.
I only had five more miles to go and tried to catch any riders I could, but only got one before the end.
I learned a great deal about road races today:
1. Be a wheel sucker, no point in wearing yourself out.
2. Catching up to the group is just as hard as attacking, so dont let yourself be dropped.
3. Be ready for rapid accelerations at all times