I have my first road race coming up this weekend, and I was wondering how hard is race pace, how hard should the effort feel? Is it a hard group ride+ or should I be as close to the limit as possible? Should I play it by ear or should I strategize before? (I am traveling with team mates if that helps.) I have watched plenty of TR race videos, which are great, but probably I’ll spend more time trying not to die rather than analyze the situation around me and plan that decisive attack.
The race is quite short, about 3 laps of a 11 km course, and last year the winner in the lowest race category here in Japan (E3) averaged over 38 km/h. The top field was even quicker than the next category up, E2, although the E2s did one extra lap to be fair. While I have no delusions of grandeur, but I would like to take the race seriously.
Background: I am a long-time mountain biker who turned roadie last year. I have been training since then, and only started TrainerRoad about a month ago. I am at 73 kg and TR pegs my FTP at 280 W (so about 3.8 W/kg).