Finally this is the day. First race of my career - so to speak.
It was raining this morning. It was cold. I was not feeling the best. On the ride to UBC my heart rate was too high. You get the drift. I was nervous. I was talking to other club members and the advice is always: don't worry, try your best, dropping a lap is ok as long as you get the hang of the peloton.
Once the race starts all the other thoughts went out the door. I was concentrating on the wheel in front of me and a little bit more. The course is tough: it starts on a climb, a little bit of flat, downhill and up again for the loop. I tried not to use too much energy and try to recover enough to survive the climb. Most of the climbs were at a pace of 30+ km per hour. With a bit of tail wind and people in front of me it didn't feel that hard. In fact roughly 10 minutes in I was watching my heart rate and it was in an acceptable range: high 160s and I could recover down to 140s. My goal was to follow the pack and not get dropped and I am happy to say that I did that - almost all the way. During the last lap I lost sight of the pack when the person in front of me slowed down a bit and a gap opened up. As soon as I realized I tried to bridge up. It was not my forte and they were accelerating away. I pushed hard and could not join the pack again for the last lap.
There were two accidents. I actually did not see it happen - luckily no one was seriously hurt and the pack did not go down with it.
All in all I achieved what I set out to do for my first race. Now for more training and hopefully I can really hang in the pack for the finish next week.