Where is my moon?
A week or so long ago, my mom notified me of a bike marathon happening soon in my whereabouts, and asked me if I wanted to join.
I’ve never participated in any sort of bike race except for this one time when I was around 4, and everyone won.. so without any hesitation I replied with a joyful ‘YES!’.
This was going to be a great opportunity for me to try myself out in race conditions as well as see how everything works, and what I am capable of.
This was great, I signed up for the race the next night, and waited impatiently, looking at every little detail of the race track. I hadn’t cycled much after my trip with Paulius, only the occasional relaxed evening and morning rides, so I wasn’t ready for a full marathon (100km) (which I later found out I couldn’t even participate in the full one because of my age…) , so I signed up for 50km.
I had 10 days left till the event, and had to start riding again. I decided to make a plan, starting with a full speed 10km , next day 20, the other day some hill-climbing, the next I go for a 5km run. and so on.
After I had started the training, I started changing it since I realized, I can’t keep up with my schedule. on the 3rd (I believe) day of training, I had a nasty slip of the wheel. This is when I posted about The Fall. I took the next day off, even though I was already running behind my schedule.
A few days just before the event, I get an email, saying I need to pick up my number and gps tracker as well as check in , saying that I will be there. Which I did the next day in the morning, a day before the race.
I picked up the bag, with some gift cards, as well as discount cards for bike shops, and of course, my first number.
Even though it was just a number, I felt happy. It was my first race, and I still was shocked that I was actually doing it. I’m taking a step closer to crossing one of the bigger items off my bucket list.
#332, I had a good feeling about it.
The day has arrived, I’ve done my training, and It’s the day to see if I’m ready for what’s ahead of me.
In the morning I rushed to my garage. I knew the bike wasn’t checked properly, so I had to look through it, as well as give it a wash. I only had 3 hours.
After checking the bike, and all my other gear, making sure I’ve got plenty of water and a power bar to munch if we start slowing down, I was ready to set off.
Me, my little brother, and my mom, all headed off for the race. I was starting to get slightly nervous. I knew I was a good cyclist, safety wise. I knew I will be riding in the professional group so others will most likely be experienced in this and won’t randomly swerve into me. But it wasn’t that. I was nervous because I wasn’t any more sure if I was ready for it. I hadn’t ever done something like this, and even though I’ve ridden greater distances before this, somehow this was more nerve racking than ever. This was my chance to prove myself to everyone who had doubts in me. And a single mistake could ruin it.
We reached the start line, I took out the bike, changed into my sports outfit, and clipped on my number-tag. I took the bike for a spin to see if everything was working and lined myself up for the race.
Look it’s mee! The one that has ROSE on the side of his pants!
So here I was waiting for the start signal. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but I was sure I Had to get out of there before the people behind me (oh and trust me there was around another 100 people behind me) came rambling over me…
I heard the shot! everyone at the front started rushing forwards, yet I was sitting on my bike, waiting for people in front of me get some sort of a move on.
I set off, taking risky jumps through the slower moving crowd. I knew I wasn’t able to keep up this fast of a pace, but I also knew being surrounded by slower cyclists, won’t get me ahead. So , being the dumb person that I am, I started jumping through out people constantly making sure there’s no one behind me that I might crash into.
I made it out alive, and got a nice head start, I wasn’t anywhere close to catching up the first ones as there were quite a few professional cyclists, but I knew I lost the slower amateur ones (I consider myself an amateur, nowhere close to a professional.. YET.). I pedaled through the little clouds of bikers clinging together to get better aerodynamic. yet only using them as a small windshield for fractions of seconds I managed to get in front.
The crowd was cheering, people chanting names, holding posters supporting friends and family. The feeling was truly phenomenal. Sure I knew I wasn’t going to be first, and there is no one , other than my family, that is supporting me, but that was more than enough for me. I knew how much as a toddler I looked up to those sportsmen, thinking how cool they look. Today, I was one of those sportsmen that the kid would look at pointing, saying he hopes to someday be the same.
End of the line buddy!
The straight line that I was riding was ending, and all my dreamy thought left my head faster than it takes someone to blink. There’s a turn coming up, and I knew I had to get my head back into the race, and plan out my actions. I gained up on some rider, and followed his bike.
Cobblestone was ahead. Dang it people, what kind of a race is this?! I’m on a road bike, no suspension , no fat, good grip tires. This was my weakness. I had ridden cobbled road before (also known as Belgian road) and was no stranger as to how much this will slow me down. I powered through, shifting all my weight to my feet, and letting my hands go as loose as possible without letting go of the handlebars.
I got through it, but I knew I’ll have to make a 180 turn and return to it again, as well as this was a continuous track, meaning I have 4 more goes on this.
I got ahead quite well during the first lap, but I knew I had made a mistake… Mistake I was well aware of. I rushed too much in the start trying to get ahead of the slow ones, I rushed too much, losing all my breath, and my legs aching worse than ever after the first lap (10km)
So I slowed down (as you can see in the picture above, I was pretty exhausted on my second to last turn) keeping a pace of approximately 30km/h for the next 3 laps. The first lap, I did In 16 minutes 54 seconds. Which means I kept a speed of approximately 35km/h…
I lost count…
After my 3rd lap was done, I had already lost count of how much I’ve cycled for, I had nothing to tell me, and there was almost no indication from anything of how many laps it’s been… I was starting the 3rd one, when I was already sure I had done 5, but just to be safe I decided I’d rather do 6 than 4 and be sorry. So I pedalled another lap. Yet I got this bad feeling, like it wasn’t over yet, so I started screaming to my family standing at the end of the track asking how many laps I’ve got left. They weren’t counting. That’s fine, I’ll ask the people at the finish/start line. as I was crossing I asked one of the judges, they shouted “you’ve done 5″ so I took their word for it. little did I know it would’ve been 5 laps If I was with the fastest ones, which had lapped my at my 3rd lap…
I stopped… I went to find my family, saying I’m done. I did it. Happy and all. When they noticed me, their faces turned. they looked more surprised and worried than happy. I told them I did my five laps, and was ready to sit down for a bit. they told me it couldn’t be, you’ve only been cycling for 1hour 20 minutes, and with every lap taking 20 minutes, you’ve only done 4…
My jaw dropped. I knew I had one more lap to go, but it was too late, I had jumped out of the track, and I couldn’t really jump back in.
I’m still angry with myself, I could’ve just kept going until someone told me to just stop. I had the strength, even if I would’ve slowed down a little. But I ruined it. My first race…
Never the less, I was happy and proud of myself with the results. I had set myself a new record for 10km (16;54) and now I knew I could do it. I could’ve carried on a lot more and just keep going. I am already making myself promises to train hard, and enter the race next year, making the full 50/100km ,and getting an even better time, hopefully closer to the professional level.
powering up a small hill, before a sharp turn
This guy did 50km on a hand/arm powered bike rather than pedal bike!
was a fun ride!
Already dressed back!