I made it to my first race of the year. Man am I out of race shape. I haven't loaded the data from the ride into the computer to take a look at it yet, but everytime I looked down my heart rate was in the 190s. 20 minutes of redline effort! Ouch...
So I felt half-way decent in the race - it's always hard racing in events like this when there's teams on the course and your riding solo. That and all of the other solos that are out there vying for position. I raced smart, there were only two times I was on the front. I took the first prime (pronounced "preem" for my none cycling readers) beating another guy out in the sprint by a half bike length. Felt pretty confident after that - if I could have stayed at the front and it was a sprint to the line for the finish I believe I could have held my own.
The other time I was trying to control the pace. We had one of the team guys off of the front with 2 or 3 of his teammates near the front to cover any attacks. We started reeling him in pretty quickly, so I moved to the front and tried to slow the pace down. I wanted to leave him hanging for as long as I could to try and take him out of the race. This worked for a half lap until someone decided to try and bridge the gap. Word to the wise, if a team member's guy is out front and you try to bridge the gap, prepare for company. If a handful of them are sitting near the front, prepare for a bus load. Needless to say, once the rider went off the front, the pace picked up and we closed the gap to the break away in a less than a 1/4 lap.
On the final lap I was in excellent position - about 5th. At turn 1, one of the riders broke off and it was on. The pace picked up and within a 100 yards my heart rate had spiked from it's already redline point and I popped. I sat up on the back straight away and just soft pedaled across the line. With only five mintues to recover before the B race, I decided to stay and watch instead of participate.
Like I said, I felt good - short of the constant redline. Next week I'll probably try the B race too and just stick in the pack for as long as I can. I should have raced it tonight to get another 30 minutes of race pace riding in.
On another semi-related note, the races the end of the month are rescheduled from Wednesday for various reasons. The final race in March will be on Monday, which happens to be the same Monday my parents are in town so they'll get to watch me race two races while they're here. I have no plans to win the race on Friday, but I could possibly pull something off on Monday at the crit race. My parents will probably only see me race a few times this year, so it'd be cool if they could see me win one.