So. Here we are then, after saying I'd do it over a year ago and spending a year yoyo-ing between fitness and bed-boundness as my back repeatedly fell apart, I'm two-and-a-bit hours away from my first ever road bicycle race. Not counting TTs. Forty minutes plus one lap, Odd Down circuit. Cat 4s only.
Will I win? No. In the points? No. Stay on? Probably not. Even setting my sights at a pass rather than a fail is hopelessly optimistic. I've just spent a week in France eating croissants and generally not cycling at all. Let's call it tapering, if you like. Whatever, I'm not at my peak. Which isn't a very high peak anyway. I've not had masses of experience of riding in a group, and very little at anything like race pace. I don't even have a suitable race bike to call my own right now, so I've dragged one out of the road.cc shed. I picked a cheap one so I'd look okay hanging off the back.
So why do it at all? Well, because I want to do it, and I aspire to get better at it. And I've seen friends start on the same road, and improve, and move up. And I want that too. But to move up, you need to start. So. I start. Wish me luck. I need it.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.