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I had my first road race this weekend. It was the NDSU road race. I raced in the B group, which was a 45 mile race. The A group did 60.

First off, we were supposed to have a neutral start, but we were going somewhere between 22 and 25 for the neutral start. People were complaining later. I don't know if it was the wheel car that was making us go that fast or the University of Minnesota racers, but it was too fast. I quickly fell to the back of the pack. Here in Fargo, there are no hills, so I'm not trained to do hills at all. As soon as the race started, we hit a few hills. They aren't big, but I'm not used to ANY hills. I kept up for the first couple hills, and then I was dropped. I lost the pack in the first 5 miles.

I sat there sucking wind on the hill and watching the pack pull away, and saw two other guys dropped. We had dropped at least one other guy before me. There were about 20 or 25 in the group to start with. The guy nearest to me, maybe a quarter mile ahead, was one of my teamates. I chased him for like 15 minutes, and finally caught him. We rode together for the rest of that lap and all of the next, but he was even newer to road racing than I am. I wanted to trade pulls, but he would never get back behind my wheel. I did pull him for a few miles once when I told him to get behind my wheel after he was struggling on a hill. We were both disappointed when the girls peloton passed us. I wanted to jump in behind the wheel car, but the car hung back behind us, and then sped past, so I couldn't get in behind it.

After 30 miles, towards the end of the second lap, I was climbing a hill and stood up. Both of my legs cramped up completely and I had to sit down and had almost no power left. We were near the end of the lap, so I finished the lap and then dropped out. I really wanted to finish, but I knew my legs would get worse. My teamate that I was riding with finished solo and was about 20 minutes behind the pack at the end. He also crashed (the only accident) when he tried to flex for the guys cheering him on at the corner. He talked to them for a few minutes before getting back on the bike. We had a good laugh about that later.

Overall, I thought it was fun. I'm disappointed in myself for not finishing, but at least I got the experience. Now I know what to expect at a race. I'll be training hard for the next two weeks to get ready for the next race which is in Nebraska. I'm not positive that I'm going, as I'm sure I'll get dropped again. I might go though. Eventually I'll be able to stay with the pack.
 

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i dunno about what you guys have out west, but we have mens a,b,c,d class. if you have a lower class, maybe drop down and see how that goes? I'm assuming you only have a and b since you said it was your first road race. anyways, yea, our neutral start wasnt so neutral either. there was no pace car for ours at the start, that may have been some of it. try to finish ur next race, even if you arent with the pack, slow up and find someone behind u to start a paceline with. its a nice feeling finishing with everyone cheering you on. plus u meet some cool people in the paceline, since you are out of it, you talk a fair amount about non-biking stuff. cool way to meet people.

anyways, have fun, thats the ultimate goal, no? good luck next time.
 
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