What is it about bike riding that I have fallen in love with?
I suck at it. I love working at things I suck at. These are the results from my first gravel race:
I should add that the results above were from the C class. And I got passed by someone in the D class.
I love the hard work, the grind of getting good at endurance sports. There is no magical formula — you must put in the hours and hours and hours.
My first gravel race was near Wichita, the Rage Against the Chainring series. Going into it, my first bike race ever, I wanted one thing: no rain.
Of course, it rained a lot the night before the race. Parts of the race were a complete mess. Unfortunately I didn’t take any great pics.
But that picture does the trick. That’s a picture of the entrance to the first gravel portion of the ride. Notice the standing water?
But I finished the race. That was the goal going in. Just finish. I collapsed on the back 25 miles of the race, though.
I know I pushed hard, maximum effort. I’ve been riding for about a year and keeping track of watts and heart rate for every ride. Training Peaks is fantastic software for tracking all this data. So I was pleasantly surprised to see I had set personal records during this race.
I’m not sure what to take away from my data. Red is heart rate, yellow is cadence and magenta is watts.
Basically my performance declined across all three measures the entire ride. We had two stops, one to get water at 25 miles and one when Stu violently cramped.
So this is the starting point. I remember during the ride thinking to myself, “if I ever do this again, I am hiring a coach.” After the ride, I decided I enjoyed the ride and I was doing it again. so I hired Kent at Move Up Racing.
The next race is May 15. I’m going to shoot for one a month. My goal is 3:30, which is a lot faster then 3:50. But I anticipate a few things:
- The conditions will be better
- I won’t stop for water or for a cramp
- I’ll have a better idea of what I am doing
- I’m going to change up my riding fuel based on advice from Kent
I need to get in at least one long, hard ride before May 15. New gravel bike comes this week so I’ll probably try to do a hard gravel or road ride on May 8.