Dave and I participated in our first bike race a few weeks ago. It was the Colavita-Zipp Time Trial Series which races about every few weeks somewhere in Ohio. Most time trials are almost completely flat - so we were surprised this one was hilly. Fortunately Dave had is "King of the Mountains" jersey on for a time trial which is bike-sarcasm but it was appropriate for this race.
I liked the idea of doing a time trial because I wanted to do something for a formal bike race but I knew I couldn't compete in a road race with a group of riders. I think if you are a novice you are asking for trouble in a peloton. So a Time Trial (TT) is great because one rider starts every minute on a 10 mile course and you just race the clock. Also there are categories of riders form Cat 1-5 pros to our division which was "standard non-aero bikes".
There were about 200 riders which were of all abilities from novice to Category 1 semi-pros. However out of the 200 riders I think 170 were like Lance Armstrongs and we were definitely in the minority. It seemed like everyone had a $10,000 time trial bike with wheels that cost more than my whole bike. Here's a picture of the of the type of equipment we were up against.
Apparently these riders are "super serious" and not that friendly to new comers. Also they all had "staff" and as soon as they pulled up in their car they got their bikes out onto a bike trainer and were pedaling in the parking lot for hours before the start! They then stayed on the bike while asking those around them to put sun tan lotion on them so they could keep pedaling! In fact on our way to the bathroom one guy stopped us and asked me to pin his race number on him while he keeps pedaling on his trainer because his buddy left him already. So I managed to try and pinch of some sections of his SKIN TIGHT suit around his right hip area and pin his number on him. I hope he re-adjusted it because I am sure it was a little loose for a serious TT person because I didn't care to get that close to him while he kept pedaling. It was crazy!
As you can tell from the GPS elevation graph it was a bit hilly - as in all uphill for the first part. My heart rate tends to be too high anyways - and especially when you are launched from a "Tour De France style" starting house with a crowd of people yelling "GO GO GO!". Within the first half-mile my heart rate was over 200 and I was like "why am I trying to go so fast - I need to slow down!"
While climbing the hill me hear rate was 210 and I don't remember looking at my heart rate monitor and seeing it below 200 but it must have been at some time because my 40 minute average heart rate was 199 (yes - 199!).
But it was well worth it as I made it on the podium (where the top 3 finishers stand)!! Of course I was up there before the race started... but who's counting! I'm holding what looks like a wine bottle of olive oil as Colavita makes olive oil I guess.
Though I didn't race as Bolt Speedman they did think that I raced for the cycling team "APPLE JACKS" which is good enough for me!
They gave away some good prizes like bike seats and about 20 Road ID's but Dave and I only got Zipp water bottles for being newbies. Here's a video of the action - the guy finishing is as serious as most of the people there.