NOTE: The race ended about three or so hours ago, but I live only a few miles away from Columbia, so I was able to go home and post about it.
Abridged: I FAIL.
It's never a good idea to start a race late. Especially when the consequences are racing with a higher category you aren't ready for.
Left the apartment late (breakfast with Slashdot is NOT a good idea) and got to the race site exactly at the time our division was up (Intro to Racing). Fortunately, our team was ripping heads, as most of the guys were in the lead of the leading pack.
Unfortunately, the story was not the same for me. I was to race Men's D-Div 2, which isn't too different from Intro except pre-race crash tutorials (on crash avoidance).
For the first lap and a half, I was doing pretty well. I was able to stay with the leading pack with mild difficulty. However, I felt my power saturating...quickly. As soon as I hit the short climb, I lost it. Went striaght to the back and never saw the guys again (until they were a lap ahead of me). Obviously, I came in last this time around.
After the race, I kind of felt ashamed, yet indifferent about it. While my team-mates (one who won the crit, and a few others not too far behind him) were kind of dying, I didn't feel the same way. I was by no means relaxed, but I wasn't in total destruction like they were. Even though I was trying and pushing, I wasn't pushing hard enough. Which brings me to the questions.
After the races at Rutgers and Columbia, I think I have seen the areas I need most improvement on. What kinds of training can I do to work on my speed and endurance? Where in New York (other than the parks) are the best places to work on this? Also, how should I treat my training rides around the park? When I usually go up there, I go with the mentality to ride hard, but that seems to fail when I actually get there.
For those that have been in the same position as me (was new, not outstanding at all in your first bouts); what have you guys done to improve yourselves?
Thanks for reading!