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  1. #1
    Camaro driver
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    Like every other first race...

    I am about a week away from my first road race. It's a Cat 5 race that is 21 miles without any severe terrain. The pace of the lead group last year was about 21.7mph, which makes it seem like a pretty reasonable place to try my first race. I welcome any advice, such as how far/long to warm up (I'm assuming the intial pace will be quick), how much to eat/drink, any helpful strategy, and other things you wish you had known before your first race. Either way, after next Saturday I will have one race under my belt and know what the heck I am getting into next time. Thanks for any responses.

  2. #2
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    is it early in the morning? i ask only because my races are usually at 6:30am and i'm really tight in the morning. plus it's cold. as such, i try to warm up pretty well before hand. do some light riding around the course and do a few short sprints and fast cadence spinning to get the muscles nice and loose. stretch well.

    i make sure not to eat too much. again, for me, in the morning i have a hard time forcing myself to eat. so, it's usually a banana, bagal, lots of water, and half a bottle of a sports drink. i bring a clif bar with me in case i get hungry before the race but i usually don't need it. too much or the wrong kind of food can be bad. don't try anything new at this point, just stick with what you know you'll digest well.

    the biggest tip i can give you is to get there early and get done with all the paperwork\registeration stuff. that way you won't feel rushed and you can calm your nerves by riding around a bit and talking with other riders. good luck and fight to stay in the draft.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Get a nice breakfast, nice warm oatmeal does it for me.
    Make sure your bike is in perfect working order, always important.
    Sunglasses are a must.
    I like to warm up on the trainer. (coach says ride at the tempo you plan on riding in the race)
    Commuinicate- very important, before during and after the race.
    make sure to stay in the front.
    Chase breaks unless you have a team mate in the break.
    Eat, and drink during the race. you get tired because youre out of fuel. (make sure to open the packageing before the race, you dont wanna be tearing off the wrappers of a power bar in the middle of the pack - Personal expierence)
    Dont sprint on the hoods, sprint in the drops.
    Work together, weather its a teammate or not. you can ditch the other guy in the end.

    Most importantly, this is your first race. Your mindset shouldent be on winning, go there to learn how to win.

    You will gain expierence, watch the other riders, try to learn something.

  4. #4
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    21 miles isn't a lot for a race. It's not a real road race, but it's also longer than a sprint. Food shouldn't be a real issue because you will only be on the bike for an hour for the actual race. You may want to eat a powerbar or something similar right before the race as that will keep you going.

    Warm up....doesn't have to be real intense since this isn't a sprint. I would do 15-30 min of good spinning with a couple of real good hard "thigh burners" in between to get your legs good an ready.

    Stay in the front third of the pack. You can draft and react to breaks. Lastly, be sure to manage your strength and energy so that you can sprint and ride hard for the last mile.....and above all....have fun!

  5. #5
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    21 miles at 21 MPH
    don't do anything different than a normal club ride or training ride.
    for an hour race I personally wouldn't take much, if any, water.

  6. #6
    Ca-na-da? krazyderek's Avatar
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    i'm in the same shoes team219, my first race is on saturday (one week away) and i'm kind a nervous, it's a 60 min crit (1.5km loop), with a 2 lap finish, so i have no clue what's going to happen for the first hour.
    Bass had a good tip, open food before you race, that does make alot of sense and i never would have thought of that.
    keep the advice coming guys
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  7. #7
    @ Checkmate Cycling jbhowat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krazyderek
    i'm in the same shoes team219, my first race is on saturday (one week away) and i'm kind a nervous, it's a 60 min crit (1.5km loop), with a 2 lap finish, so i have no clue what's going to happen for the first hour.
    Most likely, you'll be hurting (I guess it depends on the field though), but you'll be loving every minute of it.


    My biggest tip is something I am going to try to concentrate on for the criterium I'm doing tomorrow (field is capped at 100, its a .7 mile course, lots of turns and some narrow areas...). In my area these cat 4 races are usually total bloodfests. In both crashes (read:75-100 people on the line), and more importantly in people popping and getting spit off the back. I'll honestly be happy if I can be in the pack for the whole race. The issue is that we don't have cat 5 here (in ACA..), so you have your cat 5 guys and you cat 4 guys racing at a cat 4 pace which would be more like a cat 3 pace in most places in the country. Easily half of the starting field will get pulled before they get lapped.

    Anyway - I'm going to try to concentrate on finding a good wheel in the middle-front of the pack and staying on it. There are a lot of factors to analyze, but basically you want to be on the wheel of a very steady, experienced, strong rider for the whole race. This is true for lots of crits, but especially for ones like the one I'm doing tomorrow. The problem is when you are just on some random guy's wheel, if he starts to blow up, he is going to do it slowly. All of a sudden you will see there is a 3 bike gap in front of him and he is taking you down with him. Avoid this, it takes HUGE energy to get back to the pack, and then you are still in the rear and you're behind the people who are blowing up still. Working your way up to a good wheel (or the front) in this situation is a bit like going up a down elevator, because at the back nearly every wheel you get on will be dropping and opening a gap. Thats my best advice for you guys right now, especially for criteriums.
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