Like Nick mentioned I finally got around to purchasing a road bike, and with less than 24 hours on a geared machine I decided to race it out at Wells Ave. Nick originally pitched the D group to me as a good way to ease into things, but I ended up racing the C's with the logic of 'since I'm a C on the the track I should try the C's at Wells' all of which Nick fully encouraged.
Despite all my smack talking with Nick about winning it all, I knew from watching the races at Wells that this wasn't going to happen. I feel I went into everything with some realistic expectations for myself:
1. Get comfortable with the format.
2. Try to utilize the gears as much as possible.
3. Don't make a complete fool of myself.
4. Have fun.
1. I think racing the track helped the most with being able to hold a tight line through the corners and being comfortable holding a wheel. Despite the lack of teams on the track, there was plenty of communication between riders about taking turns pulling, etc. all of which I felt comfortable jumping into. Honestly I think racing Wells Ave is going to be some of the best training for the track, and it would be great if maybe next year we could get some good team turnout so we could work on tactics and whatnot.
2. Utilizing gears may sound foolish, but having never really ridden a road bike I had to make a conscious effort of making sure to shift to make sure I wasn't mashing all the time. Towards the end of the race when things went downhill for me I defaulted to staying in one gear and just hammering away, so this is obviously something I'll need to work on more.
3. I guess this is more about the results. Which was 7th out of a pack of 7. And I made a lot of dumb mistakes (which I'll get into later) that resulted in me falling off the back of the pack during the last 1/3 of the race. But during the first 2/3 or so I was able to pull more than I should have and dump too much into a prem' lap than I should have. Even though they were foolish, I'm glad I was able to hold my own when I could and get positive feedback from the other racers afterwards.
4. Without a doubt a success in this regard. I had a blast and I'm looking forward to doing it again next week.
Like I mentioned, I made a couple dumb mistakes that came back to hurt me in the race, which hopefully everyone else thats going to be going out there for their first time can learn from:
1. Make sure you have your water with you. I started the race without checking to make sure I had a bottle on the bike and about 3 laps in I realized I left it in my bag. Didn't think this would be a big deal but around lap 8 or so I kinda wished I hadn't. By the end of the race I had definitely learned my lesson, and probably downed over a gallon over the following 2 hours in my attempts to rehydrate.
2. The crit is a lot longer than the track. I knew this was true, but it didn't hit me until I went back and thought it over after the race and realized it was 12 miles total. I started the race at a pace that I was comfortable with on the track, which I found out I couldn't carry through the last third of the race. I pulled hard and sprinted out hard, all of which I couldn't hold up.
Overall, I'm definitely glad I did this. For me it was a lot like the kilo on the track: I've never done it before and have no clue on what I can expect physically from myself unless I push myself to find out where my boundaries are. Like I mentioned, I think its going to be great training for the track and I'm definitely going to recommend people get out there and give it a go.
I'd also like to thank Thane, Kip, and the mechanic whose name I can't recall for spending the time with me to make sure the bike was a good fit and made it so that I could get it out the door and onto the street ASAP. Its all very much appreciated and won't be forgotten.