I did my second race ever on Saturday. The only other race I had done last year was a criterium, so this was my first road race.
The race was 3 laps of ~8 miles, with a couple of sets of rolling hills. They split us up into the 'A' group and 'B' group, and off we went. I was in the 'B' group with the rest of the cat 4s and 5s.
Weather was cold to start, around 23 degrees with a decent wind out of the north. Of course this caused me to overdress for the race, since I warmed up as the race went on and the sun came out. After the second lap I had unzipped my jacket, so I looked like a real fred riding around with my jacket flapping behind me. I did all of the stupid noob things like pulling the pack around, riding in the wind too much, and taking too long to close any gaps.
I was able to stay with the front group of about 14 people, and they broke away from the rest of the pack. I'm not sure when the break happened, I just know that I looked back after the second lap and we were missing about 15 people. In the last 1.5 miles of the 3rd lap I got gapped going over some rollers, and I couldn't catch back on to the group of 10 people in front of me. I ended up in 11th place.
- Don't dress too warm. At these temperatures if you're not cold when you're starting (or at least just ok), then you're going to be way too warm during the race.
- Stay out of the wind, don't pull for too long, etc.
- Expect the pace to ramp up near the end of the last lap/last few miles
- Cover gaps quickly, even if it really hurts