Trying to put a coherent sentence together during exams is harder than you'd think. This post has been sitting on my computer for two days and I have no idea what to write/how to write it. My first Canadian race is in the books, just in time to put in a week and a half of intense studying, followed by 6 months of intense racing. The Ontario racing scene kicks off every year with the Good Friday Road Race in Flamboro, and I've been a participant ever since I started racing two years ago. This was also my first race in Cat. 1/2 and it was a good test to see where I stack up with the big boys in Ontario. The biggest thing that separated this from other races I've done is the fact that people aren't afraid to attack. As a result, the pace is much more start and stop compared to other races I've done. As the attacks are happening, the pace gets ridiculous until a break either forms or everyone is back together. Then the pace slows down, until the next attack comes. This process was repeated for most of the race.
The other big difference that I discovered is that positioning in a race is equally important, if not more, than fitness. My legs have felt good all season so far, but since everyone is fighting for positioning, it becomes difficult to stay with the group if you're taking in wind the entire race. One good example of this was on the final lap, I was side by side talking to my friend Steve. A few kilometers later, he was up far enough in the group to make the split in the crosswinds, whereas I was too far back and got caught behind some people that couldn't hold on. We got a good chase going, and I swear we came within 25 meters of regaining contact, but the elastic snapped, and we were left to fight for placings amongst who was left in our small group of 4 riders. I took off on the drumlins on the back half of the course, and worked with one other rider to get to the finish, where I got nipped in the sprint. And what happened to Steve, who was beside me heading into the final lap? He came 10th overall, which just goes to show how important positioning is in these races.
So my goals moving forward this season: keep on doing exactly what I've been doing so far regarding training- its working. Keep on being relaxed at races and not stressing about results- this is a big jump up in categories, and the results will come. DON'T keep on being content to sit at the back of the pack- I need to make conscious efforts to move up and take the risks to be at the business end of the group. If I really want to become a top level rider, this is the next step forward.
And to everyone that made it this far reading my ramblings this week, here are some awesome pictures as a reward. Due to the fact that my parents don't know how to work a camera, combined with my blistering speeds, the only pictures taken at this race were at the start line. Enjoy!