High today? About 15 degrees. Snow on the roads. Except where it's ice. But I was determined to ride since I had a chance to do a criterium, a new experience for me. So, I dressed appropriately and went at it. First, there is the all important warm up, riding at a high cadence with a gradually increasing intensity, making sure that you finish about ten minutes before the race.
When the time comes, the start is sudden and the pace off the line is brutal. There are eight turns and navigating them successfully is the key. There are times when the riders get bunched up, testing your skills. And you have to decide what to do about the breakaways. A lot of thinking goes into this, as I am sure you can appreciate.
In the end though, I was blown away. The other riders were just too much for me. But it was fun, getting to ride with the likes of Robbie Ventura and his team. Here's a shot of the pre-race warm up:
And here are a couple of pictures from the race itself. You can even feel the wind whistling through your helmet vents, can't you?
This one pretty much tells the story - the entire race group is in front of me. Oh well.
It was 21.5 miles and I ended up averaging a stunning 18.0 mph. For everyone else, it was more like 27.5 mph. But it was a challenging ride and a great workout.
And I never had to leave my basement, being able to ride the entire race courtesy of the realRides DVD I got with my trainer.
Their tagline is "Innovative indoor training for the serious cyclist." Well that's me! Well, maybe not, but I do have to say that trying to ride the race had me working much harder than when I watch, say, Law and Order on the TV.
So, my first bike ride in Africa and now my first criterium. It's going to be an interesting year!