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Old 06-21-16, 09:53 AM   #1
silversx80
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Getting back to racing after a long hiatus

Not sure if I'll get chastised for this thread, but I'm seeking a little advice. It's been over 6 years since I raced last, after taking 5 years off the bike. With the exception of being struck by an F-150 last summer, I've spent the past 12 months working my proverbial (and literal) ass off (50 lbs lost). I just ordered a new USAC license (instead of renewing mine from 2010), and my first race will be this weekend.

Here's the dilemma: I'm starting as a Cat 5 since I never had enough races credited officially (not that I mind at this moment). The race day will give me 2 different groups to ride with. There is the standard Cat 4/5, but also the Pro/1/2/3/4/5 Master's 35+. I'm not sure which one to do, and don't really want to sandbag the 4/5. I know e-wang means nothing, but my power profile is ~4.5 W/kg FTP, ~5 W/kg 5-min, ~8.2 W/kg 1-min, and ~18 W/kg 5-sec, while my CTL is in the mid 90s, and I weigh in the low 160s.

So, do I ride with the Master's where I will undoubtedly have the worst handling skills, or go with the 4/5 and hope there are some strong riders in the field?
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Old 06-21-16, 09:59 AM   #2
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Do the open 35+. It will probably be faster and you can just find your-level of riders to slot in with.

Though you're unlikely to be able to just ride away from a 4/5 race, so you probably can't go wrong either way.
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Old 06-21-16, 10:05 AM   #3
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Is this a crit? If so, I would race both: the 4/5 for a result and the masters race for training/accumulating race time.

If it's a RR, I would still choose the 4/5. You are a 5, even with the ewang.
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Old 06-21-16, 10:20 AM   #4
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Do the open 35+. It will probably be faster and you can just find your-level of riders to slot in with.

Though you're unlikely to be able to just ride away from a 4/5 race, so you probably can't go wrong either way.
That's exactly my thought process... I'm just torn.

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Is this a crit? If so, I would race both: the 4/5 for a result and the masters race for training/accumulating race time.

If it's a RR, I would still choose the 4/5. You are a 5, even with the ewang.
It is a crit, but I'm not certain I can do the morning and afternoon races. They do have the Open 35+ right after the 4/5, but it's only 5 minutes, so I'm going to skip lining up like that. Maybe the open in the morning, and the 4/5 in the afternoon if I can swing it.
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Old 06-21-16, 04:58 PM   #5
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Do both.

Six years is nothing. I took 26 off and came back to win.
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Old 06-21-16, 09:11 PM   #6
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Do both.
This. It's a crit, right?
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Old 06-21-16, 10:21 PM   #7
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Agree with shovel - do both.

the numbers are strong with you.

the 4/5 will bore you. with a decent enough attack, you'll be able to ride away from at least most of the field, if not just ride around solo.

do the 35/open to race - race! - with your peers.

PS - I pity the poor true cat 5 lining up for the first time...he's going to get smoked by you and never race again and probably ebay his bike.

PPS - whether renewing or just getting a new license, you should make USAC aware of your racing history; not doing so is being deceitful, and, very possibly, against some arcane policy that you agree to when you get a license.

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Old 06-22-16, 05:36 AM   #8
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Agree with shovel - do both.

the numbers are strong with you.

the 4/5 will bore you. with a decent enough attack, you'll be able to ride away from at least most of the field, if not just ride around solo.

do the 35/open to race - race! - with your peers.

PS - I pity the poor true cat 5 lining up for the first time...he's going to get smoked by you and never race again and probably ebay his bike.

PPS - whether renewing or just getting a new license, you should make USAC aware of your racing history; not doing so is being deceitful, and, very possibly, against some arcane policy that you agree to when you get a license.
Looks like I'm signing up for the morning open, and the afternoon 4/5. Maybe I'll be gassed enough that I don't discourage anyone.

As far as racing credit goes, I checked into it way back because I had a handful of one day licenses starting back in 2005. I'd probably have enough to get the upgrade to 4 (and do the 3/4 races), but I don't have record anymore after several moves since. The local rep at the time said just to race more. Oh well. I'll see what this weekend is like and perhaps they'll let me out of 5.
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Old 06-22-16, 10:45 AM   #9
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In that situation you are doing the right thing with Cat5. You might want to ask for an early exit from Cat5 if you do well and ride smart for a few races.
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Old 06-22-16, 11:28 AM   #10
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Looks like I'm signing up for the morning open, and the afternoon 4/5. Maybe I'll be gassed enough that I don't discourage anyone.

As far as racing credit goes, I checked into it way back because I had a handful of one day licenses starting back in 2005. I'd probably have enough to get the upgrade to 4 (and do the 3/4 races), but I don't have record anymore after several moves since. The local rep at the time said just to race more. Oh well. I'll see what this weekend is like and perhaps they'll let me out of 5.
Cool - I'm curious to see how it goes! Good luck, have fun, welcome back!
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Old 06-24-16, 09:41 AM   #11
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It's official, I'm registered for two sessions tomorrow. Open 35+ in the AM, and 4/5 in the PM. Excited and nervous.
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Old 06-24-16, 05:29 PM   #12
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Good luck
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Old 06-24-16, 05:54 PM   #13
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...can I have your stats?! You'll be fine. Have fun!!
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Old 06-27-16, 09:18 PM   #14
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@silversx80 how did it go?
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Old 06-28-16, 08:41 AM   #15
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@silversx80 how did it go?
Incredibly fun, incredibly hot (triple digits according to my bike computer), pack-fodder finishes.

Cue the excuses:

My wife and 2-year-old came with me, so we got out late and arrived with less than 15 minutes to change, sign in, pin on my number, and line up for the Open 35+ (lined up with about 3 minutes to spare). No warm-up... suck, at least it was a neutral start. The field split into two groups early on, and I was in the 2nd group with about a 20-sec gap. Stupidly, I decided to try and bridge the gap (no teammates at the races) with a couple guys on my wheel. Went really deep into the red, finally grabbed on to the front group, and tried to suck wheels for 2 laps before I fell off because I couldn't recover (those guys were in a different league). Picked up by the second group and it was pretty steady and strung out for the rest of the race, while I hung out in back trying to see a good point to move up. About 5 turns to go I carried too much speed through a corner and wound up off the front. That screwed any chance of a sprint finish for me, so I just tried to see how deep into the red I could go in a futile attempt to get some sort of gap... no dice. I wasn't last, at least.

The 4/5 race was an absolute mess in comparison, but some very strong riders. Slow in the corners, huge efforts after each, and every corner... every. freaking. time. . 36-foot wide track, and the entire width was taken up, so jockeying for position was very difficult. I got fed up with it, moved to the front, noticed a couple riders about 15 seconds off the front, Went into the red and bridged the gap, and at some point we became 4. At no point did anyone give indication that we'd work together (I'm guilty as well). Worked too hard for nothing, blew up, and got swallowed by the pack. I spent a few laps just trying to allow my HR to get back to normal, stayed away from the dangerous riders, and listened to all the rear derailleur indexing problems everyone seemed to have. In the last lap I just couldn't get, and keep a good position. It seemed like every time I was 8 riders back, they would let up and I was suddenly in the back half. Eventually I lost count of the corners and crossed the line in the middle of the pack with too much left in the tank.


Considering that this time last year, I wasn't able to move my left arm (or much else) due to taking an F-150 to the arse, all in all I'm happy with the day and had a great time. There were a lot more tactics involved than I anticipated, with no respectable hills to split the field, and there were a lot more racers than I expected. What I'm taking away from this is that my training is not ideal for crit racing, so I need to make some changes and have more days with a variability index over 1.3. I was actually sore.

Looking for the next one.
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Old 06-28-16, 08:53 AM   #16
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Sounds like some solid racing right there for your "first" two races.
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Old 06-28-16, 09:40 AM   #17
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Sounds like fun to me.
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Old 06-28-16, 09:57 AM   #18
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So you have a 4.5W/KG FTP -- and couldn't hang onto the gront group in a CAT 5 race? Does not add up at all.
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Old 06-28-16, 10:03 AM   #19
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So you have a 4.5W/KG FTP -- and couldn't hang onto the gront group in a CAT 5 race? Does not add up at all.
He finished in the middle of the pack. Also, have you raced? It's the constant accelerations that get you, not the ability to hold x power for 1 hour.
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Old 06-28-16, 10:16 AM   #20
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So you have a 4.5W/KG FTP -- and couldn't hang onto the gront group in a CAT 5 race? Does not add up at all.
I'm know! Crazy, right?!?!
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Old 06-28-16, 10:45 AM   #21
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So you have a 4.5W/KG FTP -- and couldn't hang onto the gront group in a CAT 5 race? Does not add up at all.
Positioning and recovery means a lot more than ewang. Sounds like the OP had a great couple of first races back: worked hard (too hard ), stayed upright, and most importantly gained a lot of information on what to work on next.

I would call that a super successful race day.
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Old 07-01-16, 09:15 AM   #22
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Typical Crit accelerations I think it takes atleast 3/4 crits to get your swing back, know the right wheels to follow and who to avoid . Best wishes getting back!
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