Escape Velocity Spring Series - Round 1

The road race season starts much earlier on the west coast. March 15th is this year's first real road race and this is two weeks earlier than last year's race. The race series is put on by these guys and from what I've been able to gather from exactly one race, appears to be well run.

The first race of the year was a flat, four corner circuit race weighing in at about 6.3km per lap. 9 laps in total for a grand total of  just under 57km of racing for my category, the lowly 'C'. I had actually been somewhat worried about this as I haven't been able to get much riding in yet this year, so I was definitely relying on riding intelligently as much as any semblance of strength that I actually had. My main goal was to see how fast the thing was and sit in for the first half of the race. After about halfway if things were going well, I was going to try to get to the front, see if I could get into a break for at least a little while, then attempt to have a good last few km. I also intended to not crash and stay away from anything remotely resembling a sprint.

The day started off cold. It got colder and rainier. It actually started snowing just as my race finished, so that about sums up the environment. It wasn't a drizzle either, it was a driving rain, I was completely soaked. That said though, I was riding with enough effort that I wasn't cold until after the race was over, though I wouldn't have enjoyed an extra couple of laps.

My race was punctuated with two particularly hard efforts that were worth noting, but other than that, I probably took it a bit easier than I should have. The first one was roughly on lap 4, two guys went down just in front of me and basically brought me to a complete stop. At that point it was chase time, which is never fun. It was pretty chaotic getting back on with lots of single riders stretched out. Unfortunately by the time I caught most of the people trying to catch up, they had blown and I wasn't able to help them at all. I eased up slightly as I overtook each rider trying to let them latch on, but once I had a gap, I figured it was more important to get back on the back. The chase took me about a quarter of a lap and I didn't really let up until I was in the front half of the pack so I could relax a bit more.

The second 'major', quoted for reasons that will become clear, effort was with approximately three laps to go. Two guys had gone off the front and had a bit of a gap. I probably went too early, but I felt that a break might be kind of fun. I jumped across and was followed by about three other riders. So there were five of us up there and we were pretty quickly reeled in by the group. Nothing was getting away, probably because none of us is fast... Anyhow, my turn on the front came around and before I knew it I had about a 20m gap, which was not where I wanted to be with 18km or so to go. A bit far for me to go it alone. I kept the pressure up for a bit, viewing this as a chance for a bit of a harder effort for some fitness but I never committed.

The last couple of laps were pretty uneventful for me. I sat in the pack, tried to move up a couple of times but messed up. I put in a hard last kilometer and while staying out of the real sprint kept in touch with the leaders and came across in 20th or so I think. All in all, pretty solid considering I was very worried about being shelled in the first few minutes.

Lessons learned? Next race I'm going to spend more effort trying to get into a break and keep it going. The racing seems to be of a 'chase it all down' variety. Since we're all pretty weak, a 'counter attack' wasn't going to happen, though I could see it being an effective tactic. So that's my goal next week. And if that completely fails? Fabian from 5km to go.