Sunday, September 7, 2008

Crash course in road racing

Well, so on Thursday I found out that the UK NPS & Marathon races on the 13th/14th of September had been cancelled, and on Friday I was considering doing the Ras na Mban instead (a 3 days 4 stages women's only road race) which is on the same weekend in Kerry.

However, I have three problems:
1) I've never done a road race.
2) I haven't really done much road bike riding (I think I've been on a road bike twice) and have only ever done 3 road group spins (all of them on my mountain bike)
3) I don't have a road bike....

I don't actually own a road bike and as a soon to be student again without having paid off my first student loan, buying one is a little out of my budget. Therefore, to rectify all this and also to see if I could handle road racing at all Ryan told me about the Leinster Road Racing Championships which would be on this weekend on Sunday, and that I should do them to try out a bit of road racing before committing myself to a 3 day stage race (even writing this I just realize how crazy this idea is). So on Saturday we went into Cycleways to ask them if I could get lend of a road bike just for this weekend and they were really supportive and gave me a Specialized Allez. In the afternoon I headed out with Ryan so that he could give me a crash course in road racing.

So far I had heard that road racing is supposedly totally different from mountain biking or even a road spin. You are either cruising comfortably or it's all eyeballs out - very surgy as Ryan described it. To get me used to this we played some games where Ryan was attacking out of the blue and I would have to follow (yeah right, as if this was even possible, his attacks are 800Watts for more than 10 secs!), and to make me aware of the most obvious situations where people will attack (or I could attack), e.g. out of corners and up a hill. The other two main lessons were these: Stay with the pack and try and do as little work as possible so that you are fresh at the end when you are going for the finish line. Well, there was another one: Don't do anything stupid.

Hmmm - not sure if I like this.... We'll see how it goes tomorrow. At least the race sounded fairly short: 8 laps of a 5 mile course for women.

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