I'm not going to do it.
Maybe I'll do it.
No, definitely not going to do it.
Fine... fuck I'll do it.
This was the thought process starting many weeks before the Good Friday Road Race. I was without a bike to train on for 7 weeks over the winter. Valuable indoor trainer time that I could have used. The mother fucking winter was (and still is) relentless and I just hate cold weather riding. I had many excuses to not race. A lot of which were centred around the fact that I just wasn't ready or strong enough.
Bike racing is very much in a world of it's own. It's not like a running race. Once you're dropped from the field the race is pretty much over. Last year of racing was my first year and it was pretty discouraging. Only one race did I like because it was the only one I stayed with the field for the entire thing.
Ryan, Chrysa and Becky did a whole lot of convincing to try and get me to race. It's the beginning of the season, they said. Look at it as a training ride, they said. So I listened. It didn't help my anxiety much because all I wanted was for the race to be over so my 3-day weekend could start!
It was a frosty morning. The races started in waves at 8:30am. The course was 4 laps of a 15km circuit with the start/finish/turn around through the fairgrounds. The route was mostly flat with lots of rollers. That's really my ideal type of road. The field was a decent size. Maybe about 30 ladies. There were a bunch of categories all crammed into one field. I had 2 team mates with me but only Shelly was in my category. I can't keep up with her in my dreams never mind reality so I couldn't work with her. I learned a valuable lesson from another girl as we were getting ready to roll out that apparently chamois cream freezes. A thought I don't want to imagine again.
|This is how excited I was to be with the field.|
The feeling of riding in a group again was blissful. The chatter and communication reminded me of good times. I love the sounds of the gears shifting and the tires on the road. It made me realize what I love about cycling and racing again. I was afraid to look down at my Garmin to see how much time or how many kms had passed but it felt like awhile. The field got away from me and I immediately thought, "well that's it for me". Then I hammered it and caught up which caused my inner child to smile. This happened a few times and each time I thought I was done for but surprised myself when I caught up. I stayed with the field for the entire first lap. The girls accelerated through the start/finish line and I began losing them again. I used all my might to keep with them. A few more kms down the road the distance between us began to grow and my hopes of catching diminished. I watched for a LONG time as the field up ahead slowly disappeared.
I rode the entire second lap on my own. I could feel my motivation waning. As I came through the turn around for the second time I called it quits. Ryan was there and trying to convince me to keep going. In retrospect I should have listened.
Wait... rewind. I'm on shots now. I took half of my breakfast bolus an hour before the race. My BG was sitting right where I wanted it to be. I was planning to take in some gels or blocks at the half way mark and just hoping that would do it. If I was on a pump I would have set a temp basal and not thought about it. On the first lap I lost a package of blocks to the road as they slipped out. Then on the second lap I lost a GU in the same fashion. My new kit doesn't have the sticky tight bits on the legs where I often cram things for easy access, ergo shit just fell out. Lesson learned. I still had a few chews in my jersey but that was it. I panicked.
Last year the race directors pulled riders who got dropped. I didn't want to get pulled and preferred to pull myself. I pulled myself. I quit when yeah, in retrospect I shouldn't have. They didn't pull anybody out of the race this year. There were a handful of girls who got dropped and there was a really good chance I could have caught up to them. I kicked myself and cursed for quitting. Yeah I was afraid of a low, I will admit that. I was also discouraged and upset that I "failed". It was my decision though and I'll live with it. I didn't want to take it seriously after all.
However the fact that I stayed with the field for 20'ish km surprises me - a lot! After a winter of crappy training and almost zero actual road riding I thought I was a lot weaker. It left me with a wee bit more confidence.
Cheering my team mates in for the final sprint.