Last year I declared I am not interested in competitions. I said I simply like to ride and feel how my muscle power carries me over the tarmac and the wind dries the sweat from my face. That is all I need… That was in spring last year. I am not sure anymore how, but somehow I ended up signing for a short local bike race that summer. The mere 3 minutes that I managed to hang on with the peloton – I got dropped on the first gentle hill, gave me that chilling sensation of being part of something big, fast and dangerous. So, I tried another race, lingered on in a small group and only got dropped in the final bunch sprint. And all I wanted from there on was to get better and hold on with them. Yeah, I guess I got hooked…
Misha got the bug exactly two seasons earlier and he immediately offered his services of a ‘personal coach’. I could not say ‘no’ to that! And I do like to train, right? I can’t give away all the secrets in one blog post, so lets just say – it was a busy winter. And luckily the summer schedule was similarly packed with all kinds of local road races.
The first one went really great – I managed to hold on for some 10 km – all the way to a steep 200 m climb, where I immediately got dropped of course – but did not give up and came to the finish line with the peloton of the second group that started 5 minutes after us. In the second ride of the season a similar climb was some 25 km into the race and I could hold on until then. I have manged to finish that 92 km race in 2 hours and 45 minutes. Thanks to the ‘vacuum’ in the peloton I managed to beat my personal best on the course by 25 minutes!
I was very pleased with myself and as a reward I got myself on a bike-packing trip from Trondheim to Tromsø that I described in one of my earlier posts. The whole undertake was quite a typical novice mistake. I was not ready for such a big thing. After six consecutive 200 km ‘stages’ the lower part of my quadriceps developed such an unpleasant pain that I was sure I messed up my knees. While I do have to admit I like to suffer a bit (just like all the people who enjoy turning pedals), pain is not my game, so I decided to wait until it gets away. The relatively inactive recovery took me about a month and I voluntarily skipped some of the most attractive races of the season.
But I got back on the road just on time for ‘El Classico’. Must be my favorite Tromsø race of the season! Where I only got dropped half way up the climb. Fantastic!
Bottom line? Maybe the best part of the story is that there is still a lot of space for improvements. And that there will be many more chances. The peloton will be waiting for me at the start line on the same weekends every season.