Today was the big day of my race. I would like to disclaim that before I continue on, I had a good day and enjoyed myself very much.
My race today began at 7am in Dominguez Hills. I arrived around six thirty to register without a hitch. I rode a few laps to warm-up and very shortly after, I was on the starting line. If I had to guess the temperature, I would say 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold weather aside, I felt very well & confident in racing. Once the race official dropped his hand, everyone was off and rolling.
Seeing as this was my very first race, I was talked into sitting in on someones wheel (as to not exert too much effort in having more of a wind drag by staying in the front) for the majority of the end of the race. This is a very common strategy that many racer follow and are usually successful in doing. Now that my head is clear, I began to realize that by doing that, I am only going as fast as the person in front of me. To dive deeper in the thought, I am only then limited to whatever who is in front of me is capable of. So if the person who I am drafting is extremely fast & takes the race going full speed the entire time, I would have to hang on for dear life or find someone else to stay behind. This was not the case for me. In fact, my scenario was the exact opposite. I felt as though the field that I decided to stay behind were taking it easy & not putting genuine effort where it counted. There was a slight downhill & a slight uphill on opposite ends of the course. Everyone would surge into the downhill, begin to ride hard for the turn after that, then lay off the gas once they hit the last turn that had the slight uphill. This became very annoying very quickly. I really had trouble grasping the concept of this. These sudden changes in pace used a lot of energy on my behalf. I was ready to keep riding hard after the downhill, up past the uphill and maybe further after that. Since the entire field rode this way, I was out of my element.I saw two riders right in front of me bump into each other, risking a crash. Thankfully everyone’s tires stayed on the ground and no one got hurt (except my pride).
Having thought about the idea of drafting, exerting effort, and hanging on while the people in front set the tempo of the race, I am almost certain that had I stayed in front, set a fast tempo throughout the up and downhill, the field would have divided & would have made for a race with better results. I do not completely disagree with the idea of sitting in, but if I am going to continue to race (which I most definitely will) I cannot let someone else set the tempo for the majority of the race when I feel that I am capable of riding stronger than them. As sadistic as it may sound, I want to break the field down, make them suffer as much as possible by setting a faster, longer tempo over and over and over. I know everyone will be tired (me too) but I believe with every fiber of my body that I am capable of suffering longer than those around me. So by attacking, the field, they have to work more to try & catch me. Keeping things persistent, & recovering quickly, I will separate the weak from the strong. I have done this tactic many times on group rides with friends & fellow cyclists. I have been successful the majority of times I have truly followed through with it. Having done it before, I will now bide my time for the next opportunity.
This was a very good learning experience for me. Unfortunately I have an “If you are not first, you’re last” mentality so 24th place does not sit well with me at all. I do not care if it was my first race, I want to do as well as possible & I do not feel as though I was able to do my best. I will continue to stay as humble as I can although I am constantly seeking perfection. (This constant aspiration for perfection brings out my inner tortured artist) I am counting the days until my next race & intend to register for 3 more races by the end of the night. I feel even more confident for next time in hopes to try something new to separate the weak from the strong. My inner sadist wants to make those around me suffer as much as possible (in a sportsmanlike manor). As I mentioned before, I feel as though I was stronger than those around me, & could not show it by having someone slower than me set tempo, stay behind them, then slow down when I am ready to keep going. My goal for the rest of the year is to show those around me what I am truly capable of. I am going to win one race by the end of the season, I am sure of it.
The sad part is I will be thinking about this for the rest of the night & wont be able to sleep very well. As for the rest of the day, I am going to try to relax & calm my nerves. I hope all of those around me have a great Sunday & continue to live well.