Are you scared of the dark? The post mortem of My First Bike Race

Once I had finished I was meant to be able to celebrate with beer and chips instead I was shivering, soaked to the bone trying to remove my number from my jersey and avoid eye contact with anyone.  With my running going so well, preparations for the London Marathon (sub 3) and Outlaw Ironman (sub 12) on track I could be forgiven for thinking I am fit enough to give anything a go.  It is not my first disappointing poor performance (see below swim phase of first triathlon) but this one is particularly painful as it was so brutal and damning.

So gutted by my performance last week.  At least I didn’t DNF! 24th (last of 31 starters – 7 DNF).  Results now up

So what went wrong?  That’s very negative so I am going to start with what went right!

1. Nutrition.  I was well fueled and had drunk enough (too much)? It certainly didn’t negatively impact my performance.
2. Clothing.  It was very cold, wet and windy.  I chose to wear 2 pairs of socks, overboots, tights, trisuit (vice bib shorts to match jersey), long sleeved baselayer, Montane Featherlight and a jersey over the top (with race number attached).  A pair of thin gloves under cycle gloves, a snood and skull cap meant I was not cold although the rain did sting my unprotected face.  I chose not to wear glasses as my experience at the recent Royal Navy duathlon was that I couldn’t see anything when rain soaked anyway!
3. Clean bike.  A puncture discovered at 4pm wasn’t ideal but I soon dealt with that and my bike was ready after the previous night’s TT.  Makes me think “he’s a rubbish cyclist but nice clean bike”!
4.  Er… no that’s it!  


HR up, Speed dips with the corners.  Quite an horrendous profile really.  Angry and disappointed.

Moving on to what went wrong.  That’s the important bit.  That’s what I need to change to succeed.

1.  Preparation.  Riding a TT and getting a PB the night before is not great preparation for a fast circuit race.  Riding to and from the TT to make it a 50mile trip was possibly the worst idea I’ve had in a while.
2.  Preparation.  Warm up!  Next time I will ride from work or from home.  My Turbo doesn’t work without power (hence sale) and in order to “hit the ground running” I need to do more than a few poncy stretches.
3.  RIde closer.  Without a doubt I was not close enough to the wheel in front.  Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was inexperience.  I blame the spray from the back tyre of the bike in front.  
4.  Anticipate the wind and corners.  Ride faster into the wind and into the corners to keep position.  Ultimately this stopped me remaining in the peloton.  See Cycling Weekly article below:

5.  Fitness.  Racing is another couple of levels up.  This was a 3/4 Cat race but even so those guys were fit.  My cycling fitness will come as I prepare for the Outlaw but there is no quick fix and I will just have to work at it.

I think I can work on most of these points for next week and see how I get on then.  What I did enjoy was scaring myself.  Getting out of my comfort zone.  Doing something new.  The same (riding a bike) but very new!  When was the last time you scared yourself?   

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