Over the weekend Patryk, Jason S, and I attended the second O-cup race of the season in Calabogie. The race was a lot of fun as it was held on a closed course race track. It was my first ever mass start race, and aside from all the reading, watching pros and talking to others I have done, I had very little idea of what to expect. I had heard stories of crashes and was very nervous, and although assured by fellow members, it is very hard to believe your fitness is there to compete at that level. After all I had never been on a 38km/h group ride (where people are constantly trying to make you explode).
Moral of the story is that I had a tonne of fun and completely pushed my boundaries of comfort. The race was fast and cagey (lots of antsy attacks, with periods of no-one wanting to be on the front). I ended up going with a couple riders really early and trying to make an escape, but my brake was rubbing (could have been in my head, but I don't trust my recent bike build fully yet) and we got swallowed back up. Lots more attacks would go and I was going with all of them, and getting tired of consistently getting away to get reeled back in. Eventually when the pace was relentlessly high, a group of 8 riders got away and I thought... just save some energy here, they will get reeled back in, but they didn't. with the help of the strongest rider in the field (spoiler alert* he won the race by 2 minutes), they built up a 1'30" gap on the main field. everyone in our group had resigned to quibbling over 9th place, when on the last lap, the breakaway came back into sight. Still no one wanted to work and wanted to save for the sprint (here is where some teamwork would have really changed the game) and we ended up 14" back of the group that got away (minus the winner who dropped them all). I was able to sprint to 4th from our group and came 12th overall out of a field of 31. I was very happy with that result for my first time out, I learned a lot and will need to keep learning about which moves to chase and which ones to let go.
Jason and Patryk where in a much bigger and more organized field which wouldn't let anything exciting happen attack/break away wise. so it all came down to a sprint. I'll let them share their experiences.
Looked like a fun ride with the club on Sunday. Sorry to have missed it. Also, sorry for the lack of pictures, I was too busy throwing up of sheer nervousness (that didn't actually happen).