Experiential Training and Racing Report from Stephanie Mayberg – o2fitness athlete and Rio Stada Cycling team member…
This is my first season racing, and I started out with an injury that had me off the bike for two months. Once I was able to get back on the bike, I have made slow and steady progress regaining what I had lost and getting stronger and faster.
I decided to try my hand at time trialing by going out to a time trial training ride, and loved it.
I trained a few more weeks, then set my sights on my first official NCNCA event – a 10 mile individual time trial. All week I visualized what I thought the course would be like; it was described as a 10 mile out and back with a “slight elevation gain” on the way out. I felt fit and ready to race. I talked over my fears and thoughts with Julie and had a plan. I checked out my bike the night before, packed my car, reviewed my plan and went to bed.
I woke up the next morning excited and focused. I drive down to the race, got checked in and warmed up. I was feeling great. I didn’t want to go out too fast, because I had made that mistake in the training rides. First mile I was feeling great…then we started to climb. This wasn’t a slight elevation gain – it was a hill! I kept pushing, and then came panic and doubt. “Why did I think I could do this?” Someone on the sidelines said “take a deep breath.” I did just that, I regained my composure and told myself that I wasn’t quitting and I wasn’t letting up. I kept climbing knowing ( or thinking I knew) that the turnaround was just ahead and the rest would be downhill. I hit the 5 mile mark, where I expected to see the turnaround, and it wasn’t there. My legs were screaming! This went on for another mile and a half when the turn around appeared. I turned around for the downhill portion, but needed to recover from all of the unexpected climbing. I finished the race totally exhausted.
After discussing with Julie, I realized that while the fitness and mental piece were there, I needed to fine tune distributing my efforts.
I stuck with my training plan and headed out for a Tuesday night twilight crit – my first crit ever. I was determined to have fun and ride smart. I also told myself I didn’t want to lose the pack. We warmed up with a few laps, then took our place on the line. The speed slowly increased, and I found myself at the back of the pack. We slowed and surged at every turn. It took me one lap to know this was not where I wanted to be…we rode a few more laps, and I saw my opportunity. The pack was starting to splinter. I moved up to the front one rider at a time. The speed was moving now. For the next 30 minutes rode my heart out, learning where I could push and when I should conserve. I thought about my discussions with Julie on cadence and pedal stroke, and somewhere in the race it all came together. I worked hard, I hurt, but I had a blast! Added bonus- I finished third and took a prime.