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Old 03-03-20, 09:44 AM
  #14  
Rides4Beer
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Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: SC
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Bikes: Defy | Revolt

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Had my first road race a week ago, it was great! I'm a pretty strong rider, ultra running background, so I was able to jump into A group rides pretty much as soon as I started riding a little over a year ago. But I wasn't keen on racing, well, more specifically, crashing. So I'm still not interested in tight crit courses, but we have a spring series here that has some open road races. So I figured I'd try out the first one, 5 loops of a 7 mile course that I'm very familiar with (it's where we do Tues night worlds).

Men's Cat 4/5 had 97 people. I'm used to fast group rides, even faster than we rode for the race, but a group ride where people are riding two by two and taking turns up front is very different from a pack running 4-5 wide and no one working together. lol I was pleasantly surprised that we didn't have any crashes, but I was also very careful to try to stay on the edges of the group, so I had a way out in case things went sideways. Couple of close calls and some bumping, but nobody went down. There were 3-4 breakaways, but none of them held, the group would always reel them back in. I think because it was a two day deal (same course the next day), no one wanted to just put it all out there on the first day. I didn't race the second day, rode gravel, since I'm training for Dirty Kanza.

Going into the last lap, I found myself in the back third of the pack, and knew that I needed to work my way back up front if I wanted to have any chance when we came off the last climb into the sprint. It's crazy how fast most of the group can move around you when you get boxed in, I spent most of the race up towards the front, got stuck going into one curve and suddenly I was at the back. lol But I did manage to work my way back up front without burning too many matches. Looking back, I had enough gas left and should have worked to get further up front before going into the sprint. Because once we hit the sprint, I only passed one person, and then everyone pretty much held their positions to the finish. Finished 15th out of 97, probably could have been top ten if I had positioned myself better, but I'm still very happy with that.

Overall, it was a good experience, I wouldn't mind doing it again, so long as it's an open course. Don't think I'll get licensed, I don't race enough (sanctioned) to make it worth it, I'll probably do a few one day events the whole year. The rest of my racing will be gravel and my club's TT series in the summer. But I can see what people have said about it not just being about power, positioning is def key.
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