My bike racing career begins tomorrow, age 29! (It doesn’t bode well for my longevity in the sport that I’ll be eligible for the “Masters” category next year, does it?)
I got my UCI race licence in the mail recently, which made everything feel pretty official:
Tomorrow’s race is a 50-ish kilometer road race in Aldergrove, BC, with a bunch of other Cat 4s* of varying abilities. (It doesn’t bode well for my chances that I don’t know the exact distance, does it?) The field should be about 30-50 racers, some of whom will be part of teams/clubs, some of whom will be lone wolves (like yours truly).
The flat course also favours teams who know how to work together in pace lines, as each member of the team can spend most of the race sheltered from the wind, occasionally taking a turn at the front of the line and bearing the brunt of the elements.
As long as the peloton is big enough and doesn’t fragment too badly, my lack of teammates shouldn’t be a big deal (I hope; did I mention I’m new at this?). I should be able to find shelter for most of the race among the various teams, and it’s not like I would be able to blast to the line from a lead-out train, even if I had one.
My main goal for tomorrow is to stay upright and not embarrass myself. (There is a lot of unwritten etiquette in road racing; I’m sure to commit a faux pas or deux.)
That said, if I’m in the lead group near the finish, you can bet I’ll be doing my best Donovan Bailey impression in the last 100 metres.
Results to follow.
*The UCI categorizes racers based on performance. In Canada, Category 4 seems to be lowest category (in the US, there’s a Cat 5); Category 1 is the highest.
In order to move up categories, racers have to perform well against competitors in their current category. Here is how it works in the States.