... with an important difference: gravel roads for 50% of the course!
I've never done a road race before, but the gravel roads add an intriguing dimension, so I'm going for it.
Things I'm Learning About Road Racing
- Categories - Unlike the other races I've done, they have categories based on ability and experience, not just age, and not everyone races together. Due to my age and lack of experience, I am in "Master 3" (M3). There are two categories above mine, M2 and M1, for more experienced and competitive riders.
- Gravel and Road Bikes Do Mix - I have always been pretty dainty with my road bike, but it seems a lot of people ride their road bikes on gravel roads. Most use 700x25 tires(instead of 700x23) and put a bit less pressure in the tire to get more grip and less risk of punctures.
- Drafting - I've ridden in packs at charity rides and in group rides, but I've been told that in a race the dynamics are quite a bit different, even in the beginner zone that I'm in. I'm expecting there to be more aggressive (and probably stupid) moves, so I'll have to stay sharp!
- Laps - I've never done a race with laps... this one has eight 8km laps. Many race directors will pull you off the course if you are lapped, so I'm hoping to race the whole thing but it's not guaranteed!
I don't really have any goals for this race, other than to enjoy it and learn what I can. I will try my best as always, and we'll see what happens out there!