I've been lurking here for a while, trying to learn from your comments and experiences until I was able to race myself. Due to a recent and unexpectedly good report from my doc at my last visit for some disk/sciatic nerve issues, it seems I am in a position to do some real training and hard riding.
I have never raced. I've been cycling about 3 years, but during the last couple have had a series of medical issues that, while not keeping me off the bike entirely, limited what I could do. I'm 59. I've done local group rides but have not been in the fast bunch.
In three weeks from today there is a local road race that I've had my eye on for a while. It's 20 minutes away. The "cat 5/citizens" race is 27 miles, just under 2 laps of 14.5 mile course on rural roads in good condition. It's a bit hilly, with two climbs, 1.5 miles in length for the first, 2.5 the second, though not terribly steep: 8% max and mostly 3-5% grade. Two years ago I went to the race as a spectator, and it looked fun and not too high-pressure an event.
But I am definitely not in ideal racing shape, either endurance or high-end fitness. My weight is fine, indeed I'm slender, but the fitness is not there since I haven't been able to train hard. I've been riding through the winter, but mostly 30-60 minute rides, some in the snow on studs (a good workout). My longest recent ride is 20 miles. Last summer I did some longer rides.
Should I give this race a try or wait a few months until I can train more? I'm sure I can ride the 27 miles (3 weeks from now) but I doubt I'll be terribly competitive. I'm planning to do a condensed (my own selection) three-week training of workouts from Carmichael's Time-Crunched Cyclist (plus some hill repeats), with sufficient rest days and last-week tapering.
I've done my homework on riding a first race, and will ride the course once or twice in the next couple of weeks before race day. I should be reasonably set for bike (Tarmac), gear, clothing and nutrition.
Any comments or suggestions are appreciated.