Date: February 12, 2023
Result: 17th / 27
Course: 45 Minutes
This is my first year racing on a bike, and actually this was my very first biking race. Before the race, I decided to upgrade from Cat-5 to Cat-4, and entered the Men 35+ Cat 3/4. Being new to biking races and to the NCNCA stage, I really did not know what to expect and who to look for, also coming from cross-country skiing (last race was in 1998 at the National Finals before getting injured) where most of the races are long endurance time-trials, I was a bit nervous on racing on a bike in group over a short lap.
The Men 35+ Cat 3/4 race was combined with the Cat 3/4 Elite and Men 50+, and at the starting line there were around ~100 people. My strategy was to stay on the back of the group for the initial laps (while not losing contact with the head of the race), and gradually gain positions while the race progresses. The race was a quite fast one (or at least this is how I felt it, since I do not have anything to compare with) as we averaged more than 26 mph, and in the middle of the race there was a spectacular crash at very few inches away from my wheel: two riders collided with each other in a fast curve, felt on the road and caused many accidents on the back. Fortunately I was able to avoid the crash, and while the leading group gained a few meters, I was able to catch up and ride with them until the finish line. On the second last lap, the race really exploded and it was a continuum of attacks from different riders. Fast forwarding to the last lap, I was on the back of the leading group and did not position myself well and when last attack came I reacted too slowly, and from then on I did not have any chance to recover positions (and I rather lost a few), and it has been a bit regretful since on the finish line I felt like I still had a lot of gas in the tank. Overall, it has been a great learning experience and I had a LOT of fun. I hope as the season progresses, I can gain a better shape by continuing my training and entering as many races as I can, while prioritizing those that may favor riders with higher watt/kg rather than riders with higher absolute output power. I am thinking to actually race again in March where I want to give a try to Cat’s Hill Crit, before heading to the Chico Stage Race.