So, I just competed in my first race this Sunday. Crit race, 8 laps, about 30 minutes total. I was feeling great for the first 2/3 of the race, won two primes. I was in the front of the pack (top 10-12 out of about 35) the entire race, probably in the top 5 for more than half, and avoided two crashes by doing so. Finished about 10th overall. Not bad, and I had a lot of fun.
However, I know I can do better. By the last lap, I was starting to dog it pretty hard, and I just couldn't push the pedals a whole lot harder for the sprint. I did start the sprint a bit too early, but it wasn't even much of a sprint anyway. I don't feel like it was much of an endurance issue (or at least not something that couldn't have been combatted with better tactics).
Some things I think I did wrong:
- started out too hard
- was in the wind too often
- started my sprint too early
Pacing myself better is a rookie mistake by me, and can easily be fixed. Same with the sprint issue, I feel that with more racing under my belt I'll get better at picking the right wheel to follow and the time to jump.
However, I did find myself in the wind quite a bit. I found it difficult to move up by doing anything other than going around on the outside. Yet when I did this, I often found it difficult to get back in the pack and out of the wind. All of this time in the wind tired me out a bit more than was necessary, and I feel that it could have been avoided. Is there any tactic around this? Or do I just need to get stronger, so that I can hold it down in the wind until a spot opens up?