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Playing in the mud: my first race experience

June 28, 2011

Playing in the mud: my first race experience – Adelaide Cyclists.

We’re all virgins at something in cycling, as evidenced on the long
weekend with some ‘newbies’ experiencing some climbing for the first time, and maybe cycling wouldn’t hold a life-long interest if there wasn’t something new thrown at you now and again. For me it is racing.

I have never raced a bike before in my life, except Cat 6 commuter racing of course. As a kid I used to sail dinghys in a club. I didn’t do that well at it. An occasional place under handicap and some fun but I never possessed that drive to win. So bike racing has never really crossed my radar. I also never considered myself good enough to race — but this is a load of rubbish — or I would say “I have a young family”, but so do other great cyclists who race I’ve met recently who have been riding their bikes for less time that I have.

Today I gave it a go at the Cycle Cross event held by Port Adelaide
CC and it was good fun. I didn’t hold any great expectations except to bolster the numbers and enjoy the day. I did enjoy it and did better than I expected. I finished which was my first goal and I only hit the deck once which is especially good because I was riding my recently retired road bike with narrow slick road tyres – my only CX kit was my also recently retired shoes that are actually MTB/CX shoes.

I took it all pretty relaxed really. One test lap of the course, no
warm ups, let the pressure out of my tyres a bit and we were off and as I expected off went the field ahead of me. I think I do much better after warming up for a good 15 mins so slowly I clawed my way back, passing a few to catch up to Robert Rau. Surprising myself to be on the wheel of such a strong rider I was even more pleased to pass him for a brief period of time.

The tour is lost on the descents and the CX race is lost on the turns. A wide, slow turn can cost you meters and this is where I would focus my training for next time.

Rob stayed ahead of me by 20 meters or so and then he dropped his
chain in the muddy woods — he Schelcked. The AC members supporting us encouraged me to go but I couldn’t do a Contador… so Rob go his chain back on I let him go, the sportsmanlike thing to to, but I made him work
to get his margin back. I looked at his face and he was dripping in
sweat. My heart rate was doing its 90% of max at 185bpm and we belted down the asphalt path taking us to the ‘spiral’ in the track — the race is lost on the turns and as Rob exited to the final straight I was back to 20 seconds behind. I’m not sure the final margin but I was happy to be within a minute of a rider and great Adelaide Cyclist member like ‘Chewie’ and I was happy to finish.

So lessons learnt, humble pie eaten. I will race again – maybe even
on the road. It is fun, testing and pushing yourself is worth it and
your kids see you are their greatest hero.

Thanks PACC, Focus bikes and all the Adelaide Cyclists members who came out to race and support us.

It’s been good reading other members blog posts about racing and I am
glad this is my turn…. did I beat Rob to posting his blog?

 

Chasing down Rob Rau

 

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