8/29/2010 – East Aurora Road Race
15 mile citizen’s road bike race in East Aurora, NY. It was my first ever bike-only draft legal race. Only 22 people in the citizens race made for a nice low key first bike race for me.
I started out at the back of the peloton since I really had no idea what to expect from the race. First few miles were real easy and I just focused on keeping the wheel of the guy ahead of me – a very different way of riding from what I’ve been getting used to with the triathlon time-trialing. We made a quick left turn up a hill and that’s where the race fell apart for me.
The front 6 guys accelerated up the hill, leaving the rest of the pack in the dust. I surged past everyone (I was still in the back third at this point) but they had gapped me by 10-15 seconds by the top of the hill. I decided to chase them down solo since no one else looked able to make the gap. Unfortunately I spent the next ~5 miles time trialing about 20-30 seconds behind the lead train, losing no ground but making up nothing. I kept looking over my shoulder to help but I had gapped everyone else by at least 2 minutes… I was alone.
At this point I realized that I was losing steam and had no chance of hooking back up with the lead group (who had been trading pulls the whole time and had to be much fresher than me by that point). I also knew there was a 2-3 mile climb near the end of the race that I needed something left for. I decided to let off the gas and let the next group catch up.
Finally 2 other riders caught me and I stayed with them for much of the rest of the race. On the last climb I couldn’t quite stay with one (frustrating b/c if I hadn’t burnt myself out I would have killed them) and I ended up 20-30 seconds behind them at the finish for an 8th place of 22 finish. A little disappointed that I didn’t get much drafting practice and that the lead group got away so quickly, but I have the confidence now for next time to stay near the front so this does not happen again. If I had stayed with the lead group I think I would have been in the mix for the entire race. Here are the stats:
878 total ascent (pretty much all in the last 2-3 miles)
19.6 mph avg (included having to stop at one point b/c the traffic volunteer pointed us the wrong way… I was up over 21 for most of the race but the final climb killed it)
8/22 overall, 2/3 in AG