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First race tonight. Thanks everyone, it's been lovely.

So. Here we are then, after saying I'd do it over a year ago and spending a year yoyo-ing between fitness and bed-boundness as my back repeatedly fell apart, I'm two-and-a-bit hours away from my first ever road bicycle race. Not counting TTs. Forty minutes plus one lap, Odd Down circuit. Cat 4s only.

Will I win? No. In the points? No. Stay on? Probably not. Even setting my sights at a pass rather than a fail is hopelessly optimistic. I've just spent a week in France eating croissants and generally not cycling at all. Let's call it tapering, if you like. Whatever, I'm not at my peak. Which isn't a very high peak anyway. I've not had masses of experience of riding in a group, and very little at anything like race pace. I don't even have a suitable race bike to call my own right now, so I've dragged one out of the road.cc shed. I picked a cheap one so I'd look okay hanging off the back.

So why do it at all? Well, because I want to do it, and I aspire to get better at it. And I've seen friends start on the same road, and improve, and move up. And I want that too. But to move up, you need to start. So. I start. Wish me luck. I need it.

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

17 comments

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themartincox [503 posts] 2 years ago
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There is a 5th Cat, its called a sportive  3

have a great time!

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IHphoto [116 posts] 2 years ago
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All the very best Dave. Don't break a leg... or a clavicle, or an elbow... ! Just try and stay with the surges (it'll probably go like the clappers at the start and settle down on a circuit) and work your butt off to stay well within the head of the bunch.

PS been such a while since I raced in a bunch of any kind I would be Schrodinger's Cat  3

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Jez Ash [206 posts] 2 years ago
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G'luck, I'm looking forward to it more than my races  1

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balint.hamvas [6 posts] 2 years ago
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story of my life. go kick some ass.

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ronin [268 posts] 2 years ago
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For some, it's the path, not the goal  4

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notfastenough [3695 posts] 2 years ago
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Come on then, how did it go? (and well done for getting stuck in, I am also going to need to take the plunge)

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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Did my first last night.
First 15mins up in the bunch, probably a little too far back, going around 110% to stay there at times, then reality kicked in and around 5 of us go chucked out the back.
Stuck at it and finished, need to train harder!

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lolol [195 posts] 2 years ago
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The psychological barriers can be the biggest enemy, with me anyway. Just remember that not every rider thats there is super fit, and that when you are suffering so is everyone else, it's easy to think they are all fine and you are dying.
Also there is no better training than actually racing, you will never go as hard in training.

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glynr36 [637 posts] 2 years ago
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lolol wrote:

The psychological barriers can be the biggest enemy, with me anyway. Just remember that not every rider thats there is super fit, and that when you are suffering so is everyone else, it's easy to think they are all fine and you are dying.
Also there is no better training than actually racing, you will never go as hard in training.

A few of the guys I was talking to after confirmed both of those, I'm back there next week for the next in the series there!

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dave atkinson [6224 posts] 2 years ago
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how did it go? well, i got spanked. but i kind of expected that, so no dramas. stayed in for half a dozen laps and then the elastic broke. persevered in a group of three for most of the rest of the race but in the end i got spat out of that too. it was 35 mins + 3 laps and i got lapped just before the 35 mins was up so i bowed out and watched the final three. Ed from the Bath Uni team took a fine second place.

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IngloriousLou [139 posts] 2 years ago
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Congrats on having the courage to give it a go.

I've been meaning to give it a try and have used all manner of handy excuses to avoid actually doing it. Soon I will MTFU and get out there.

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IHphoto [116 posts] 2 years ago
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Well done Dave! You'll do better next time. Bash some hard intervals in the meantime!

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BikeBud [205 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm planning to have a go later this year. Good to hear from others in the same boat.

I think some of the comments on here are really useful - thanks for your collective wisdom!

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zanf [850 posts] 2 years ago
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themartincox wrote:

There is a 5th Cat, its called a sportive  3

Actually, its called silly commuter racing!

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meursault [29 posts] 2 years ago
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I am a cat6 racer, I say racer it's more eating cakes and drinking beer.

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boffo [34 posts] 2 years ago
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Its good to read about everyones first experiences of racing and it seems they are all pretty much the same. My first race was a road race Cat4/3/2, turned out the only cat 4's were my buddy and me needless to say we got a good kicking but it opened my eyes to how good the quick guys really are, and just because you got some top tens on Strava doesn't mean your fast. Must have another try soon.

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Aileen [18 posts] 2 years ago
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So that's why you volunteered to help with our Hill Climb.
Hinton Hill certainly won't take as long as a road race.
Did anyone mention that all the prizes in the Bath CC Hill Climb include a cake? There's also a family catagory and a nobbly tyres prize. Entries on line www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/Events-List