Rode my first criterium today. Got my butt kicked, of course, but we learn from these things.
I had been getting much stronger in the past couple of months so I figured, what the heck. I signed up for a race down in Dominguez Hills, a popular SoCal course. Got there in plenty of time, felt fine, warmed up great. We went off and I held on for a couple of laps but then the pack got away from me. I time trialled as long as I could but got pulled off before the field could catch me with two laps to go. Oh, well. Getting lapped in one's first crit is not an unusual occurrence (and I wasn't the only one in this race).
So, what to do now? First, I put the race into Strava. I knew from looking at my computer that I averaged over 22 mph for the race, which is a huge improvement for me. However, this was a race and not a time trial so all that matters is how I did against the other racers. Fortunately, on Strava you can compare your performance with others that uploaded the same race. That's nice because I can see how much improving I need to do. Looks like I need to up my average to 25 mph before I tackle this race again. That is actually very good to know.
What now? Well, this race is part of a series and the next one is in December. I know I'm not ready for that so I think I'm going to take November off the bike and give my body a break. Next, I know if I want to do more of these crits then I need to get serious about losing weight. Like, 20 lbs. serious. That means I'm going to have to make a real effort to eat clean once I get back on the bike. I think I can do that. When I do get on the bike, I need intervals, intervals, intervals. I still don't have a power meter but these intervals will be sprints so I just go like crazy for ten seconds. I can keep track of my progress on Strava by occasionally hitting certain segments hard and looking at the results. When I've brought up my performance by 3 mph, I'll know I can try another race and see if I can hang on this time.