Go to the start

12 05 2010

I’ve never raced.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate.

I did enter a race once. It was a season-opening event on an Easter weekend. I’d managed to do some riding through the winter, I figured everyone else would be in a comparable state; how tough could it be?

The course was about 11 kms, three laps for the citizen class. There was one killer hill, which is just what it did to me.

With no idea about racing strategy, everyone went hell-bent-for-leather right from the gun. Eager to keep up, I was pretty much cooked by the base of the killer hill. By the time I reached the top I felt ready to hurl. And seeing the peloton way up ahead in the distance sapped what remained of my motivation.

I finished one lap and then pulled off. My racing career was over. I had been totally unprepared for what it took to race, even in the citizen class of a local club’s event.

The Tuesday night sprint races. Fun to watch, but you're not gonna catch me jostling in that pack.

Like any other top athlete, elite bike racers make it look so easy; get on a bike, pedal hard, and you’ll be rewarded with victories and adulation. To ride at a high pace for almost 200 kms and, in the case of a Grand Tour, do it day after day for three weeks, takes an incredible level of fitness, preparation and mental toughness. To jostle and bump your way through a tightly-wound pack for a sprint finish requires a huge “suitcase of courage.”

Nah, I’ll stick to watching the pros do it on tv, or the internet.

The worst bike racing related story ever, guaranteed to make even your worst day on the bike seem like a roll through the park.