Cat 4 is not equivalent to Div D in the ECCC (eastern collegiate cycling conference) which I raced in last year.
I feel as though I was pretty well matched as far as speed was concerned. We averaged just under 39km/h for the 25 minute race, which included what I would previously have called a gentle hill, and now is considered monstrous. My main weakness, and I knew this going in was going to be power output. I can TT (time trial) with the best of them. Put me on a bike and say go for a half hour hard and I'll lay down the hammer. Now the difference being this half hour hard would be consistent power throughout. Ideally somewhere in the 300+ watt range.
In a crit, the race is at a fast pace the whole time. But whenever we hit this hill. The power just exploded out of these guys to get up and over it. Result being, every lap I would be sitting pretty with everyone, hit the hill and then I would be that pain in the ass that let a gap of 5-10 feet open up. See, although we were riding at a steady 280 watt output, well within my range, every time we hit the hill they would up to 400+ watts, something I just can't compare to. My skinny running legs which I am blessed to have in triathlons, is the sacrifice I will have to deal with in my cycling pursuits.
So, as would be expected, I would create this small gap and have no problem making it up on the decent to follow. That was at least until lap 8 when we had a sprint prime. Bell rings, pack starts picking up. I'm right in the mix of things, and then made one crucial mistake. Coming into the sharp right turn heading into the uphill, I pinched myself out by taking a bad angle, resulting in having to break. Just as the pack takes off. I fight my hardest. For those of you who know the course, this is heading up stadium (I peaked down midway, we were going 45kph uphill) For those of you who don't know this exact road, imagine going that speed up the steep part of the end of 16th. Its about the same. Needless to say I lost 5 feet again, and this finally was the gap I couldn't overcome. The 5 feet became 10 which became 15. Fighting on my own at the back of the pack, I managed to tag on once or twice but never long enough to recover, and never was able to stick it on the hill. Finally after about 12 laps I lost the group completely, and graciously bowed out. This wasn't so much of a DNF due to quitting, as it was due to the fact that two races are run simultaneously, a cat3 and a cat4 race. And the cat 3 race was catching up to me requiring me to slow down and move over.
So, for the time being I will try and do some more squats and lunges, really work on leg power, because I feel that along with sprinting, this would really help me out in hill workouts as well.
All said and done, I learned a lot. Where I need to improve, what to work on. Unfortunately I didn't go through this race is great OREC style, however, at least that is something I can be sure to work on for the next race without too much trouble.
Now its off to bed for me and my tired skinny little legs in my glorious queen sized bed. I must savour this night because I'll only have the bed for one more day. The delivery guys delivered the wrong sized bed, so I'm sleeping in a queen in a double frame. Its like sleeping in a bowl...
Hope you made it this far. And that I didn't bore you. If you have any suggestions as to what I should emphasize on more in the future, or what I should leave out, then please let me know either by posting a comment or e-mailing at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, thanks Maya and her friend (Name Forgotten because I'm a jerk) for coming out to watch!