Hoping to at least keep progressing in my training and racing, I took part in my first crit today. If you need to know what a "crit" is, look at my post from exactly a week ago, and towards the bottom of it you'll see a link.) Unfortunately, my hope of progressing, for all intents and purposes, vanished within the first several feet of the start line.
While it isn't everything, I had heard from teammates that the start of a crit is very important. Unlike a traditional road race where there is usually a "leisurely" rolling start, the start of a crit is instantly fast. So if that doesn't go well, one puts oneself in a hole pretty quickly, and that's what happened to me. I had trouble clipping in my left shoe and by the time I did, I was probably already 2/3 of the way back in the pack.
There was a break from the get-go, but I was able to latch on to the back of the 2nd (chasing) group, but I was impatient and panicked and tried to make up as much ground as fast as I could. I made some poor choices in how I took some turns and expended my energy at the wrong times trying to improve position. Eventually, it all came to bite me just north of my saddle and I fell off the pace and eventually got lapped by the leaders. I was able to stay on the course for about 3o of the 40 minute race (race organizers pull lapped riders for the final laps to give the contenders a clearer course on which to race.)
Not a great first crit performance by any measure, but I realize I need to be patient with this racing thing. I'm a 37-year-old rookie and there's gonna be a learning curve. And, there's probably another race next weekend.