Author Topic: My first road race  (Read 554 times)

My first road race
« on: October 29, 2012, 09:27:36 pm »
A discussion at my club the previous week got a few of us interested and a clubmate suggested going to a category 4 only race on the new Cyclopark track at Gravesend on Sunday.  So I did. 

I was very nervous beforehand.  The track set-up was quite daunting; a great facility with a 2.9km circuit which also has a couple of mountain biking tracks, some BMX facilities, a skate (board?) area and probably other things as well - plus an enormous clubhouse with cafe.  There was a full programme of age groups and categories and the place had quite a buzz.

I was really impressed by the track.  Very smooth tarmac with some interesting and challenging hairpin corners (one of which I overcooked on the first attempt), and a long, draggy climb up to the finish - with the steepest bit strangely marked by a broken egg.  I checked out some of the other riders, in search of reassurance that I wouldn't come last and spotted a couple, out of the field of about 30, that I thought I might have the edge on...

As we lined up the starter asked if everyone had raced before and what seemed like half of the field said 'no'.  Then we were off.  I tried to follow a wheel but it was a bit quick, so I found another.  Into the first hairpin and tried to keep a tight line so I could hang on up the steep hill afterwards, and so on, trying to stay out of trouble, and not to cause any!

Things settled down and the first couple of laps were quite comfortable.  Then someone took the pace up on the third lap and I was conscious that there were only about six of us left in the front group.  I started to wonder if I could hold on but was determined to try.

The speed seemed to relax then and more people got back on.  I was gradually getting the hang of the course, choosing which wheels to follow, where on the course I had to drop back a few places (ie the hill) and where I could comfortably move back up the field.  I even did a turn on the front for half a lap or so.   

At the start of the last lap I was about sixth, moved up to perhaps third and was in fifth on the last corner but I felt I would struggle in the sprint up the hill and was proved right.  On the last uphill straight, riders were coming past me on both sides and, although I dug deep, I ended up in 14th out of about 25 finishers.

But my aim had been to keep out of trouble and stay with the bunch, not to win, get points or do anything flash.  So I was very pleased with that.  I really enjoyed it and I expect to be back. 


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    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: My first road race
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2012, 10:02:35 pm »
It sounds like a fantastic achievement for your first race, congrats :)