Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My First Race, Roslagshösten

Participated in my first bicycle race this Sunday. A lot of new experiences and lessons learned. The race was a so called exercise race with no official winner or time keeping. Not really sure what you call them in English.

The race which is held by my club, Fredrikshofs IF, is the last chance to race before the season ends and a lot of rider showed up.

The weather was Disney-like. If Hollywood/Disney was shooting a film about a autumn bicycle race they would have shot it this Sunday. The temperature was between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius, and when the morning fog disappeared the sun stayed with us during the whole race illuminating the autumn landscape with all it’s colors.

My plan was to join a starting group with the ambition to ride the distance, 135 km, at an average pace of 33 km/h. The third starting group was announced to match my criteria so I joined up with a couple of friends from the Thursday training.

As soon as they let us go, the tempo was boosted up to nearly 40 km/h and this was when I made my first mistake. I joined in. It turned out, however, that the rider who set up that tempo was too fast for the rest of us so he broke free after a while and the group continued at a slightly lower but still a bit too fast pace for me.

After about 30 km I had to let the group go. I started to feel tired and understood that I would most certainly bonk if I continued with the group. Me and one of my training partners let the group go but I didn’t want to slow down as much as my partner so I continued alone. That was my second mistake.

I rode alone for like 15-20 km before the 4th starting group overtook me and I joined the group. By then I was even more tired but I managed to stay with them for 20 km or so but I had to let them go when I started to feels tendencies of cramp.

I stopped at the halfway food-stop. The plan was to stop at the last food-stop only but I felt I needed to take it easy for a couple of minutes and get something in my stomach. I had a couple of PowerBars with me that I thought would do the trick but they where extremely hard to peel and eat during riding and the taste was awful so next time I’ll take some dried apricots and a banana with me instead.

The last half of the race I mostly rode alone. I managed to hook onto two groups for a total of perhaps 15-20 km but I had to let them go since my legs started cramping and my lower back was starting to hurt real badly.

I stopped at the last food-stop to get myself a hot-dog and some lemonade and to relieve my back and then continued alone to the finish.

Although all mistakes and pain and shit I really enjoyed the race and I was happy with my finishing time and average speed of 29 km/h (rolling average). Analyzing the ride with the help of my new HRM I was really proud of being able to hold 33.5 km/h during the first half of the race. I learned a few lessons and I really look forward to next springs edition of the same race, Roslagsvåren.

So what were the lessons learned?
  1. Bring food that is easy to eat while riding and that don’t taste like shit.

  2. Don’t go out hard, especially when you didn’t have time for a warm-up.

  3. If you have to drop your group, slow down so you can join a group behind you as fast as possible.

  4. You don’t really need to stay at the food-stops when riding a 135 km race. I could easily have put the stuff I ate in my back pockets and only made one stop for filling up my water bottles.
Ride stats:
Ride time: 4:52:30
Distance: 135 km
Avg speed: 29 km/h
Max speed: 51 km/h
Avg cadence: 92
Max cadence: 150
Avg hr: 85%
Max hr: 98%

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3 Comments:

Blogger Knox Gardner said...

For your first race, I say this: YOU RULE!!! Hell for anyone who is not some 16 year old bike kid, I say YOU REALLY FU**ING RULE!

That is awesome. And fast as hell in my book. And way intense.

And hell yeah, on not having power bars that taste like shit, you would think the competition in this "insta" food would have eliminated the bad tasting ones...

Perfect way to wind down a season and make all those club ride you've been doing pay off. Congrats and Props!

12:56 am  
Anonymous nuvAE said...

Congrats on your first race.

I can only hope to produce similar results when I get back on the saddle for racing next season. It has been over 12 years for me.

Your post was very inspiring to me.

5:47 pm  
Blogger Martino said...

Ride on. You rocked. I am too fat to rae these days. All that North-american food, you know. ;-)

12:00 am  

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