Oak Ridge Velo Classic: my first road race!!

I tagged onto the Taco Mamacitas on July 23rd and headed up to Oak Ridge with Kelly to do some road racing. Again, I reiterate my lack of mountain bike racing due to the lack of local races and wanting to see what it is that my husband loves. He’s turned into this “roadie” creature where lycra rules and men shave their legs. It has taken time to get used to, and I decided to give it a go.

I was nervous.

I don’t draft well. I don’t trust that the person in front of me we will slow, and I would touch their tire and go down. I don’t want to crash. Asphalt doesn’t look like it plays nice with skin, and I have seen evidence on others confirming.

Teams have a lot of strategy. I suppose I need to iron out the basics before really learning the strategy of a team.

The course map  as usual never makes me nervous on the climbs. It’s the descent. Lately though, I’ve been really tackling the fear of descents. Normally I hit some major fear around 28 mph on a road bike. Since ladies can hit upper 40’s with no problem, I knew this was something that would cost me time, especially since I’m not lightweight and a good road climber. I will say, I have always been a good mountain bike climber, so go figure. I cannot compare apples to oranges.

Kelly and I went up early to check out the descent. It actually wasn’t too bad, and I hit a PR in speed.

The morning of the race, we warmed up a little and headed out for the start at 9am. We had several Taco Mamacitas, and so the coach implemented some plans in place to make sure there was a break and resulting Taco Mamacita win.

The race started, and the group rolled out

I think around mile 8, there is a climb and the break happened. I remember thinking about how much pain I was in during this particular climb, and how my heart rate was already redlined at 176 bpm. I can get it higher, but for some reason felt sluggish. I watched I think a 3 man break and then chasers. We sat back. I followed the lead of a couple of teammates as I was racing my first road race for experience.

Around mile 12, there were two breaks established. Only the first break had Taco Mamacitas in it. We were officially the third group with some behind us. We started trying to work together, but I think my teammates learned quickly I wasn’t much of a steady pace liner and have work to do this winter. We rolled along working together as much as possible the four of us with one other (a different team) was doing a lot of work in our 5 woman group. Until we dropped her.

I felt pretty good. I felt like I could just take off on my own, because I was frustrated I didn’t feel I was much help to my teammates. One thing about road racing, I can know what I need to do in my head but making my legs comply is a little harder. I have a lot of bad habits and things I do that will only take practice to iron out. A lot of practice.

I finished 10th out of a field of 19 women. Not too shabby for my first road race.