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  1. #1
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Noob racing questions

    Hey guys - I've been riding for quite a while but my first real race is next Sunday. Got some noob questions. Bare with me.

    -Do you bring your saddle bag? (was planning on taking it off the bike before the race but having it handy)
    -How much water do you bring? (only a 24 mile race on Sun, planning on 1 bottle.)
    -Do you use your computer during the race? (mine walked away - so I'm currently without. Do I need one?)
    -How long do you warm up before the race? (I was hoping to warm up 30 minutes or so before hand at a moderately brisk pace)

    Race is at 8:10am. Was planning on getting there at 7am - caffinating on the way....
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  2. #2
    TCR
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenmore
    Hey guys - I've been riding for quite a while but my first real race is next Sunday. Got some noob questions. Bare with me.

    -Do you bring your saddle bag? (was planning on taking it off the bike before the race but having it handy)
    -How much water do you bring? (only a 24 mile race on Sun, planning on 1 bottle.)
    -Do you use your computer during the race? (mine walked away - so I'm currently without. Do I need one?)
    -How long do you warm up before the race? (I was hoping to warm up 30 minutes or so before hand at a moderately brisk pace)

    Race is at 8:10am. Was planning on getting there at 7am - caffinating on the way....
    No saddle bag. 1 bottle should be fine. You don't need one and I rarely look at mine but I'd feel lost without it. 20 to 30 minute warm up usually. Sounds like you're good to go. Where are you racing at?
    Last edited by TCR; 02-20-06 at 03:32 PM.

  3. #3
    @ Checkmate Cycling jbhowat's Avatar
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    If there is any kind of support (basically all the races I've done) I don't bring the saddle bag or frame pump.

    You don't need a computer. I rarely look at it, except maybe occasionally for a cadence check. I run with Cadence as the big number and either time (criterium) or distance (rr, ciruit, tt) as the smaller number. It can help determine when the decisive moments are going to be coming in a RR if you know the distance. Say I know the big climb starts at mile 14... Without a computer I really have no idea when its coming until i see it. With a computer I can plan and maybe attack at a certain point just before the hill (i can't climb)

    I bring 1 regular sized water bottle per hour. If its really hot, probably move up to large bottles. For <1hr I have a half-full waterbottle. I don't ever carry water - always slightly diluted gatorade.

    Depends on the event for how long I warm up. For a 30min-45min criterium I know its going to be hell bent for leather from the start so i will typically warm up for 30-45 minutes (especially if its cold out). I generally stay below LT for a lot of it, but towards the middle of the warm up I'll do some high-rpm efforts into lactic threshold. For a longer road race its still usually 30minutes but at a lower intensity. I also always do some preliminary stretching of my quadriceps and hamstrings (lightly) before getting on the trainer. Then once I'm warm I'll really stretch everything out. After a good stretch I like to hop on the trainer for another 5 minutes (no more) and spin really lightly until its time to un-hook the bike and go line up.

    Put your trainer by the start area (or within sight line). Stay in the front half of the pack, especially as the pace picks up. It sucks to have to expend energy to catch back up because the guy in front of you drops his wheel. I see a lot of people do this, please don't make stupid attacks in your first race unless you know you can make it. You'll enjoy it more and have a much better chance if you just stay in the pack. Solo breakaways rarely work in this sport at any level. Just because you may feel like you're going "easy" in the draft doesn't mean it won't feel like a damn wall about 5 seconds after you head off the front. I personally enjoy seeing the idiots who try that get sucked in and dropped within a few minutes of their "breakaway"
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  4. #4
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    bring your bag, but take it off to race. Computer is pretty unecessary. One large water bottle is probably enough, but realize you'll be going hard so take more water than you would for a similar length training ride. As for warm up depends on the type of race and the category. Cat 5 crits usually accelerate to maximum efforts from the ***, so you need to have done a fe short maximal efforts in warm up. Road races, particularly in higher categories often start out slower and you can warm up a bit in the race. I'd plan a little more than a half hour. Try 15 minutes spin, 5 minutues tempo. and then a couple of 2 minutes at 8/10ths, and 2 or 3 all out efforts for 30 seconds. Then 5 minutes cool down spin and then go race.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Thanks - doing a local race, the PURE Austin Road Race out at Pace Bend Park. Just got on the same team as 2Roadies. Team 360 Cycleworks. Should be a fun race I hope.
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    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Ah - don't have a trainer yet. I hate the d@mn things and never bought one. Sounds like it might be usefull to warming up though.
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  7. #7
    Out of Commission OC Roadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    bring your bag, but take it off to race. Computer is pretty unecessary. One large water bottle is probably enough, but realize you'll be going hard so take more water than you would for a similar length training ride. As for warm up depends on the type of race and the category. Cat 5 crits usually accelerate to maximum efforts from the ***, so you need to have done a fe short maximal efforts in warm up. Road races, particularly in higher categories often start out slower and you can warm up a bit in the race. I'd plan a little more than a half hour. Try 15 minutes spin, 5 minutues tempo. and then a couple of 2 minutes at 8/10ths, and 2 or 3 all out efforts for 30 seconds. Then 5 minutes cool down spin and then go race.
    ^^+1
    Great advice. You should plan on getting there earlier, at I'd say 1 1/2 hours before your start time. It sucks being rushed. It's nice to take your time, stay focused, and get in a good 30 minute warm-up.
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    Out of Commission OC Roadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenmore
    Ah - don't have a trainer yet. I hate the d@mn things and never bought one. Sounds like it might be usefull to warming up though.
    I hate em too. I've got one and the only time I've ever used it is for race warm-ups, but they're great for that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Roadie
    I hate em too. I've got one and the only time I've ever used it is for race warm-ups, but they're great for that.
    yeeeeaaaaaahhhh, yet one more thing I have yet to get but also realize the need for at the races. Some races you can't ride around to warm up while the races are going, and somebody had to borrow a trainer

    Some of the advice I got when I asked a similar question. "It's your first race, have fun, and don't expect results".....BS...go out there and give them he!!

    You've gotten better advice than I can give (I'd simply be regurgitating what these guys have told me) but from a fellow noob's perspective.....

    Really resist the urge to over exert yourself. It won't seem like it at the time because the adrenaline is flowing, but DON'T. Stay between 5th and 10th and let everyone else do the work and determine the pace. It's frustrating at first (okay, it still is ) to be doing 28 mph, then doing 15 but you have to play the game if you want to be successful. Always be ready for the speed to pick up suddenly and react accordingly. I'd be very surprised if there's a break, and even if there is, so far I've only seen it be 1 or 2 riders, let it go and rally the troups to chase it down. When doing this, if pulling I take no more than 20 pedal strokes and slide back a few positions. Other than that, really try to stay out of the middle of the pack, stay slightly to the right or left, keeping in the draft but giving yourself and out if there is a crash.

    HAVE FUN! and good luck,
    Steve

    Oh yeah, you're riding with 2rodies team, you've got a wealth of knowledge there...take advantage of it
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  10. #10
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveAZ
    ...Really resist the urge to over exert yourself. It won't seem like it at the time because the adrenaline is flowing, but DON'T. Stay between 5th and 10th and let everyone else do the work and determine the pace. It's frustrating at first (okay, it still is ) to be doing 28 mph, then doing 15 but you have to play the game if you want to be successful. Always be ready for the speed to pick up suddenly and react accordingly. I'd be very surprised if there's a break, and even if there is, so far I've only seen it be 1 or 2 riders, let it go and rally the troups to chase it down. When doing this, if pulling I take no more than 20 pedal strokes and slide back a few positions. Other than that, really try to stay out of the middle of the pack, stay slightly to the right or left, keeping in the draft but giving yourself and out if there is a crash.
    Spoken like a true vet!

    Definitely get there at least 90-minutes before the race starts, one hour's not enough. You need time to get your bike assembled and inspected. Then gotta stand in line to get registered and pick up your numbers and pin them on your jersey. I've got issues with asthma, so I need to warm up gently for 30-45 minutes. Gradually increase the intensity and add a couple of sprints to get the blood pumping. Then warm-down for 5 minutes or so and get to the start-line early. Line up at the front, I like the two outside edges by the kerb.

    One of the training-exercises we did with our team was to have out-of-the-gate races across the intersection when waiting for stoplights. This teaches you how to clip-in and get going as fast as possible from a standstill. You'll want to get the time between when the red-light changes to when you race under it to be less than 3-seconds (I still can't beat cars across when they're racing me though ). Start ALL your races like this with a 10-15 second all-out sprint because the other guys will be doing it too and if you're not in the top 10 at the beginning of a race, you're gonna be suffering right away due to the yo-yo effect.

    The biggest aspect of bike-racing that a lot of beginners have to grasp is that due to the speed, strategies are completely unlike any other kind of racing sports out there. It's not covering point-A to point_B in the least amount of time like swimming, or running track & field or marathons. The course is pretty much irrelevant. It's more like boxing, wrestling, karate, fencing, or UFC where your results is directly determined by your interactions with the other players. Doesn't matter how strong you are, if someone's sucking your wheel, he's putting out 25-35% less effort. That's the basis of pretty much ALL bike-racing strategies; how to maximize the draft.

    So, do as Steve said, relax, hide out in the pack near the front and watch the other guys. See how they move around the pack, see how they draft, see who's strong, who's not, who's winning the prime-sprints. And have fun! (save the @ss-kicking for the final sprint)
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 02-20-06 at 05:58 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. I'm going to see if a buddy has a trainer I can borrow for Sun. I guess for that short period of time you don't have to worry about tire wear on the trainer... Bah, did I mention I hate those things?

    My goal in this race is just to take in the experience. I'm not in as good of shape as I'd like to be right now and really just want to focus on not finishing DFL. I want to hang with the pack and avoid wrecks and see what things are like.

    Wow, hour and a half huh? Gotta be there at 6:30am then. What sux is its like a 45 minute drive from my house. (lol - and I don't even own a car.... )
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  12. #12
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    30-40 min warmup is my requirement to even think about a race effort - 8-10 miles, easy start tempo, small ring 70 inch gear for 10 min, a couple of easy, steady jumps to 130 rpm - next 10 min vary gearing with favoring the lge ring, at least 3-4 short hard sprints 40-50yds, 6 minutes - strong tempo in a 80ish inch gear , last 4 minutes - easy 85 rpm small ring. try to hit the start line with the heart rate slightly elevated and a light sweat.
    before all this, for any circuit race of 4 miles or less
    INSPECT the course
    then
    INSPECT the course
    and of course
    INSPECT the course

    I wanna know every hole, dip, ledge, loose surface on the entire course. I decide what 'position' I want to maintain (inside<->outside) and try to remember 'markers' for really bad roadstuff. I prefer an inside position all else being equal.

    ditto on what everyone else notes...

    note and stay away from guys who are constantly looking down at their gear - they have 'carnage' written all over them.

    1st few races, careful on the caffeine... good juice of preference 20 min before start is way moe betta.
    You'll be jumping already... adrenaline will eat you alive before the start whistle anyway. mellow out before the start as best you can.
    My 1st year, there wasn't a race where I didn't feel totally wiped before the start.
    Use the force, luke

    Oh


    have fun

  13. #13
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    yeah, know the course. that's important. if there are any climbs you'll want to pay attention as the hill nears. sometimes non-climbers will drive up the pace leading up to the climb. sometimes a small group will attack on the climb, or at the top (when everyone needs a breather...those bastards ).

    staying with the climb theme - make sure your legs are good if the climb is early on. nothing sucks more than trying to climb quickly with cold legs. it hurts. for this reason, i need about 45 mintues to an hour of warm up with a few fairly intense short sprint intervals.

    and lastly - don't overeat, but have a good breakfast that you know you can digest. don't drink so much coffee that it upsets your stomach either. good luck...

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenmore
    Hey guys - I've been riding for quite a while but my first real race is next Sunday. Got some noob questions. Bare with me.

    -Do you bring your saddle bag? (was planning on taking it off the bike before the race but having it handy)
    -How much water do you bring? (only a 24 mile race on Sun, planning on 1 bottle.)
    -Do you use your computer during the race? (mine walked away - so I'm currently without. Do I need one?)
    -How long do you warm up before the race? (I was hoping to warm up 30 minutes or so before hand at a moderately brisk pace)

    Race is at 8:10am. Was planning on getting there at 7am - caffinating on the way....
    If you can't pre-register, get there way early and register first thing. Sometimes they have a max number of racers allowed and then they turn everyone else away. Would be a bummer to get up early and get out there only to discover the race is full.

    Bob

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    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    thanks - I'm already pre-registered and on the confirmed list of riders. We wanted to pre-ride the course but it was 28 degrees and icy this past Sunday morning when we were going to do it, so we passed on it. I might sneak out there this coming Sat. sometime after work (have to work in the morning). If the course is open I'll make a pass or two at it. Its the only chance I'll have between now and then.

    I've actually been cutting down on the caffine. I had an absolutely brilliant foot race back in college heavily caffinated though. I was tired as hell from being up late. Slammed a large coffee and a bagel about 45 minutes before the run. Took off like a bat out of hell. Now too much caffine just gives me cramps. Geez I must be getting old....
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    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    BTW - do you taper your training before a race? In running we would. The taper period would vary depending on the length of the race. Right now I'm planning on riding Tues., Wedn., and Thurs - then taking off until Sun. Well, except for pre-riding the course if I get a chance on Sat.
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  17. #17
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenmore
    BTW - do you taper your training before a race? In running we would. The taper period would vary depending on the length of the race. Right now I'm planning on riding Tues., Wedn., and Thurs - then taking off until Sun. Well, except for pre-riding the course if I get a chance on Sat.

    You should taper, particularly if this is a goal race, as opposed to just training for other more important (to you) races. Ride a little shorter than normal tuesday, wed , thursday. I wouldn't do any really killer interval sets after tuesday. I'd take friday off or do a recovery ride. On Saturday, I'd ride, relatively short an hour and a half at the most. but I'd put some intensity in. Maybe 2 5 minute steady states, and 3-4 low gear sprints. If you don't ride the day before with some effort, you tend to come out sluggish on race day.

  18. #18
    Well, duh, Mr Obvious. dekalbSTEEL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenmore
    Thanks for the info. I'm going to see if a buddy has a trainer I can borrow for Sun.
    Maybe your team sponsor could lend you a trainer?

  19. #19
    Senior Member ravenmore's Avatar
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    Yeah - good idea. I can check. Still not used to having a sponsor. If not I have a buddy that has one that should be able to help me out.

    How hard are those things on tires? Is that something I should be concerned about before a race. Hate to put my brand new Michelin Pro Race 2's on a trainer. Only trainers I've used up until now were actually dedicated spin cycles.....
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  20. #20
    Slow'n'Aero DrWJODonnell's Avatar
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    There is some sound advice up there, so I won't repeat it all, but as a beginner trying to hold on make sure you know the course so that you don't get bounced across a corner by a pothole or other nasty.

    If you are going to contest the sprint (whether it is for a prime, 1st place or 30th) make sure you know where the finish line is. You don't want to open up too early, and certainly not too late. I personally go at about 200-250 meters out and have been quite irked when I realize that I forgot to designate a landmark for turning on the turbo.

    Have fun!

  21. #21
    @ Checkmate Cycling jbhowat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravenmore
    Yeah - good idea. I can check. Still not used to having a sponsor. If not I have a buddy that has one that should be able to help me out.

    How hard are those things on tires? Is that something I should be concerned about before a race. Hate to put my brand new Michelin Pro Race 2's on a trainer. Only trainers I've used up until now were actually dedicated spin cycles.....

    You'll be fine. Make sure you have the trainer adjusted right so that your bike isn't leaning too much to the sides as you pedal and make sure the roler is tight enough so that it won't slip.

    I rode a few thousand miles on a ProRace and when it was too tired to be used for the road (tread was no thicker than the casing on the sidewall!) I used it for a few months on the trainer before it finally died. Don't worry about it for warming up before races.
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