I raced in my first race last week and it was a great feeling. Not really sure what prompted it. It might have been the encouragement from Civil Racer and the peer pressure from RHP (she did the race too and kicked my ass but that is okay) or it could have been I was ready to try and see what I had in me. And well, it was not that much. I came in dead last.
I am okay with dead last. My first race ever, it was a thousand degrees (no really it was) outside and all the women’s cat’s raced together. As RHP said someone has to come in last, right? It will not always be me and I have already learned a few things from it and will hopefully be racing the next round in the series.
The race is called the $5 Spot Training Series and is a criterium or crit on a closed course so we did not have to worry about cars or people (or skateboards) getting in the way. I got to the course early so that I could warm up and ended up getting to ride around and get some great tips from Joan (one of the race organizers). We got our heart rates going and did about 5 pre laps. The course was super smooth blacktop. I am surprised it did not melt with all the heat that was going on.
There were 7 of us on the starting line. I knew 4 of the other ladies on the line so that helped put my nerves at ease a little but I also knew how fast they all were. As I am trying not to loose my lunch I kept hearing it is just a bike ride, just do your best, clip in and go. Good people I tell ya, the bike world is full of them.
The official counted down and it was time to go. I was last from the get go. Um wait for me? Okay not really but wow not ready for all that fastness. So I dig in and try to at least keep them in my sites. That did not happen but I know I tried. I am not really sure I can say I did my best but I tried. I lost count of the number of times the leader lapped me (can I please be like that at 50?) and the field did the same but I would not let myself quit. I kept going, pushing myself and trying to listen to the helpful hints from the crowd as well as the cheers of encouragement. The race was about 35mins long and I did about 9 miles. I think I could have done better overall but had a mental block of sorts I need to get past. I am hoping now that I have the first one over my mind set will be a little different. It will not be as much about okay just go and ride and more of go faster.
I think my last lap was my fastest, I know that (even though it did not matter) I sprinted to the finish. I have all the numbers but cannot remember them, I just know that I have to improve on them. My heart rate hit an all time high of 191 and I did not die, this could be due to how hot it was and the fact that I have asthma. I did think that at one point I was going to have to use my inhaler right in the middle of the course. But I just slowed down a bit and slowed my breathing. This did not do much for my time but I did not pass out so I will call it a win.
I think I will make it a personal goal to help spread the word about cycling for women. I already do a little but but think I need to step up my game. 7 is not that big of a field but that is the reality of women in cycling that race. This makes me sad and frustrated. I love being part of the all-women’s cycling team in Louisville, Team Fleur de Lis and encourage all the women I meet who cycle (or want to) to come out and join us. It is a lot of fun and you learn so much. You also always have someone that wants to ride so if you are like me and need that little bit of extra moral support, then it is a great fit. It would be a lot more fun to have 50 women show up (like the guys races) and really get the pace moving and show the world what women can do.