Let me begin this post by recapping my brief bicycle racing career so far:
Race #1, Long Run Park Circuit, 45 minutes + 1 lap – I am in the pack for about 1/2 mile, and then am “spit out the rear” or “shelled” or “blown” by the sheer speed of it. The rest of the race I ride alone or with small groups, but feel pretty good. By the way, the “staying with the pack” thing is critical in bike racing – you’ll gain a significant speed advantage. If you don’t stick, well…
Race #2, Lexington Circuit Race, 45 minutes + 1 lap – I managed to stay in the pack the entire time, save for the very last lap. I am both extremely terrified as there were 100 cyclists in a large group all together, and a couple of gnarly crashes. I finish squarely in the middle of the pack (51st). Huzzah!
Race #3, Shelby County Road Race, 30 miles – My first “long” road race on country roads. I last hardly a mile or two into the race in the peloton. My heart-rate goes to the redline and it takes me literally 10 miles to calm down to the point at which I am not considering throwing up or quitting the race (…and I have never consider quitting before). The rest of the race I am alone or with small groups.
I’ve come a long way since the fall of 2008 when I was asked to join the TwinSpires.com Cycling team. I’ve put in about 600+ cycling miles in those 5 or 6 months plus maybe another 400 “miles” in Spinning classes or on the trainer. I’ve lost about 10-15 pounds and gained a level of fitness I’ve never had before.
So, here I am, in the “best shape of my life” (BSOML) and I am getting my ass kicked in these “entry-level” cycling races… and you know what? I am loving it. I am eating it as you would relish a delicious slice of pie.