Hard to believe the racing season is just about here! If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Velopromo runs a few races in Fremont every Sunday from January 9th-30th called the Early Bird Criterium series. The categories offered are Juniors, 30+ and 45+ Category 5’s, Cat. 4’s, and Pro/1/2/3. These are considered training races so no points towards upgrades are awarded.
With all the changes in my life and limited training time, I didn’t line up for a single race last year. But I plan on going out for the Early Birds. I’ve been doing regular Group Rides for the past year so there’s some intensity there but I’m a time-crunched rider and haven’t been doing many long rides in the 3-hour plus range. Meaning, my depth of fitness isn’t very good. As I’ll be lining up in the Pro/1/2/3 category, my modest goal is simply to hang on in the pack and try not to get spit out. I competed in this category for a long time in Southern California but this will be my first race in Northern California and I’m told the racing is slightly different up here. I guess it’s just part of my personality but I tend to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. That said, I’m preparing psychologically to suffer and get dropped. But we’ll see.
The first race of any season for me is a harsh wake up call. Race intensity cannot be mimicked in training rides so the only way to get that kind of intensity is to race! As my friend and race promoter Chris Lotts often says, “The best training for racing is racing.”
If you’re a racer, what will be your first race of the year? Here’s hoping it’s fast, safe, and we all keep the rubber side down.