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I am about to participate in my first cycling race. The organizers ask me about my expected average speed, presumably for creating suitable groups of comparable speed.

I just started cycling on a racing bike a few weeks ago. I average about 30 km/h on trips of ~80km, riding alone. The race will be 65km, with a similar profile to my own trips.

My question: What speed should I expect to achieve in the race? I presume it will be faster than 30km/h due to slipstream, but by how much? The race has a few thousand participants, so there should always be someone to "hide behind".

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Ballpark would be ~2 hours, possibly down to 1 hour 45 minutes. If you set a mental goal of "sub 2 hours" then you'll be on track.

You will be astonished by the "wind suck" produced simply by being on the road with a bunch of riders all going in the same direction.

You don't have to draught/draft and if you've never tried before then a large mass of people is utterly the wrong time to start.

Given there are thousands of riders, it sounds like more of a mass participation event than a race.

If you know the route and have time in the weeks leading up to the event, you should definitely ride the whole route. This will teach you the corners and points to look out for. However your time will be increased by intersections and road traffic.

If there are climbs in this route you will want to try them at various powers and see if your physique and endurance allows a high effort, or if you need to rein it in and get to the top with reserves for the next piece.

There's a good chance you'll find other people practising the route too. So observe them and see if your actions are different. Try it their way and see if it feels better. Also this is the chance to set some strava times for segments.

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    @ChristophHanck OK I strongly recommend you attempt at least the two biggest climbs, which would be at 11-13 miles (north of Nottuln) and mile 18-20 (leaving Billerbeck to Darfeld). I'd also recommend you ride the wee loop north of Altenberger Street because of the gradient change on the plan... could catch tired riders out if its that steep. – Criggie Sep 20 '18 at 4:36
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    @ChristophHanck Fueling I'd suggest you take a gel at mile 5-6, another when riding through Bilderbeck and a caffeine one somewhere on the flat around mile 30. This gives time for it to absorb and settle before any grades. – Criggie Sep 20 '18 at 4:39

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