Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My First Road Biking Race

I'm going to test ride a road bike tonight. Really! I'm serious. I have been resisting this ever since my mom tried to buy me a ten speed when I was 12, enticing me with the words "big girl bike".

I just wanted to get a new dirt bike. "All of the other girls are upgrading." "Kate and Laurie have had ten speeds for a year." Upgrading? Why does some fancy boring bike that I can't ride on trails and take off of jumps make me a "big girl" and how is that considered an upgrade?

But last week I gave in and road Brian's road(ish) bike a few times and decided that I loved it. I want to be able to get more miles in without killing myself on a mountain bike every day. I can cover miles in about half the time as on my mountain bike, and I get in a really go workout.

So the next logical step to having ridden a road bike twice is to enter a race, right? I was a bit skeptical when Laura asked me to be on her team in the Bike For Women a few weeks ago. I knew that it would be a fun team and not a scary hardcore team with 3% body fat and alien helmets, so I said yes. I honestly thought it would be boring, but it was only 9 miles so I gave it a shot.

Laura and our other teammate Mel started 40 and 20 seconds before me. The format was that one woman starts every 20 seconds. I set out from the start thinking I would take a leisurely ride on a Sunday afternoon. There were a few big downhills at the beginning and I held back, because I had never really gone over 25 mph on a bike before. I was just trying to stay in control. The headwind was intense and the bike was wobbling. Once I got that worked out, I was able to let go of the brakes and let the bike fly.

Photo came from Alaska Digital Visions

And I noticed I was coming up behind some women that were in front of me pretty fast. I started passing people. I really didn't think I would get the competitive bug in me, but I did and I felt unstoppable. I knew it was only going to be 30 minutes of riding, so for the second half of the race I pushed as hard as I could and passed as many people as I could.

Now I find myself wondering how fast I could go. Well, if I had a proper road bike and knew how to ride it, and didn't hold back in the first half, and pedaled fast through the corners, and didn't have to stop for a truck that they let go right in front of me as I was making a turn... well.. I could shave at least five minutes off my time.

"Are you turning into a roadie?" Brian asked me last night. Is this how it starts? You do one race and then try to go faster and faster. Mountain biking for me is not really about speed but more about having the endurance to finish and finish strong. This is totally different. And a nice change.

No, I'm not turning into a roadie, just having fun riding a bike.


The Old Bag said...

The cool thing about doing both (dirt and road) is being able to argue for either side when the debate heats up!

Tim said...

The whole roadie vs. mountain biker thing is overrated. What's fun is riding good bikes, and having some variety.

(Mountain bikers are still cooler people, thought.)

Amber said...

You did great out there! Glad you had fun.

I tell ya, the more people you pass the more addicted you get!

Did you find your very own road bike yet?

Jennoit said...

This made me smile, Julie. I bought a road bike (well, older, steel road bike) in October this year. I love it - but I am also not a roadie!!

Also, thought I would check in and see if you and Brian have any interest in the Whitehorse 24 Hours of Light this year. Ben and I are moving back to Whitehorse in a week and we plan to enter a fun team of 8. I think you have my email, if you are interested.