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  1. #1
    I'll be home in an hour. Aerow's Avatar
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    How will it unfold? (race strategy)

    So now I'll do this 33 mile, 3 lap road race in March as an unattached, one-day-license rider with a bunch of CAT5 and CAT4 Racers. I'm not new to cycling, but I am new to racing (and I don't think I'm Lance Armstrong! )

    So how would you predict the race unfolding? Some will sprint forward only to bonk mid way? Will most wait until the third lap or perhaps the middle of the second lap to try a break away? Or will everyone go all out the whole time - fast and furious?

    What should I expect?


    Burn the Ships!

    Aerow

  2. #2
    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    Well, since it's a Cat 4/5 race, I'd say there are going to be some not-so-smart moves that you'll have to hold yourself back from, and not go with. So, yes, I do think there will be some people going off the front from mile one.

    What's the terrain like? If it's a hilly one, be sure to keep your guard up, then. That's the best place to escape. Is there a technical section? Watch out for that part, too.

    The moves that mean something will probably go sometime in the second half of the race. Don't be surprised, though, if it comes down to a sprint in the end.

    Have fun racing, and good-luck!
    velo
    "....You have to have faith that if you're doing the work now,you'll get there sometime."
    - Nicole Reinhart

  3. #3
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    So, if you don't know the other riders, how do you guess which break is going to matter?

  4. #4
    I'll be home in an hour. Aerow's Avatar
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    A wise and thoughtful question.

    I must say, however, that on all the rides I've ever been on with a bunch of riders, I could usually tell by looking at the rider if he/she was capable of a strong ride. Some folks surprise you, but there's just something about a way a good cyclist carries himself that says, "I'm gonna rip your legs off." In a nice way of course!
    Burn the Ships!

    Aerow

  5. #5
    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by roadbuzz
    So, if you don't know the other riders, how do you guess which break is going to matter?
    Yes, sometimes you can tell by the way someone presents themselves on the bike, Aerow said. Also, try to watch some of your competition during warm-up/on the start line/during the race. See if they seem to be strong, with good tactics, etc.
    "....You have to have faith that if you're doing the work now,you'll get there sometime."
    - Nicole Reinhart

  6. #6
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    You say that you have been a long time cyclist but are just now getting into racing. I know that when I first started racing, I had already been riding with other racers for a while. Find out what category racers your riding mates are and how you compare. When I started racing, I knew that I was stronger than the rest of the 5's already, and won a bunch of races just by breaking away solo with about 3-5 miles to go. That's as simle as it gets.

    That leads to another very important tip. BE CONFIDENT IN YOURSELF. If you're not used to racing, you may be surprised at the pain you will sometimes experience. You need to remember that everyone else is going through it too (unless you're doing long senseless pulls at the front...) and that they probably have it WORSE. Going into a race with the feeling that I was going to win, and that I was the strongest rider in the field (even if it was very far from the truth) always helped me out. Racing is a mental game.

    Tactics tend to be completely nonsensical in most Cat 5 races. When a rider breaks away, there will be so many riders who try to go with the move soon therafter, that the whole field will respond. The most dangerous and likely to succeed moves will come in the form of counter attacks as a break is just being reeled back in. That is your time to go if you have the legs and the inclination to do so.

    NEVER let a break get out of sight in a Cat 5 race. To most Cat 5's -- out of sight out of mind. If a break get's out of sight then the field will give up and fight for the scraps. This type of thinking isn't present in the higher levels of racing. This is also a reason why, if you find yourself in a break, not to hold any efforts back. Don't pace yourself easily in a break as though you might be out there a while, pile on the effort as hard as you can IMMEDIATELY to get out of sight, becuase if you mannage that, you'll be in the winning break.

    - Maurizio

  7. #7
    I'll be home in an hour. Aerow's Avatar
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    So, in other words... try to stay with all breaks, no matter where in the race they happen. Is that about it?

    Also, I'm not sure I'll be able to look over the course before the race. I've never ridden it before, so the first loop will be on entirely new road for me. There are three 11-mile loops (33 mile race,) so I'll know the course for the 2nd two loops.

    Thanks for the solid feedback!
    Burn the Ships!

    Aerow

  8. #8
    xc AND road WoodyUpstate's Avatar
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    I raced Cat 5 criteriums for the first time last year. Every race was different. One race ended in a bunch sprint with 2 or 3 guys doing all the work. Another time there was some MTB crossover just getting his Cat 5 races in. He broke on about the first lap and beat the field by a mile.

    In your first Cat 5 race you should focus on staying upright, especially if you've never ridden at speed in tight quarters. Stay in the front, if you can. If you're timid and stay at the back you risk being dropped. At every corner the pack strings out like a slinky. Those in the back have to slow more than those at the front, so they have to work harder to catch up after the corner. Eventually it takes its toll and you get dropped.

    Staying at the front can be nervewracking for the novice. Speeds are faster, racing is tighter, racers are faster and less forgiving to the inexperienced. Hit your brakes and you'll lose several places and find yourself sprinting to get back on.

  9. #9
    I'll be home in an hour. Aerow's Avatar
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    bummer!!!! After all that... the race organizers just announced that it will be cancelled this year. The next race nearby isn't until May or later.

    Oh well. I'll keep this advice humming until later in the season!

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Burn the Ships!

    Aerow

  10. #10
    The Female Enduro velo's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Aerow
    bummer!!!! After all that... the race organizers just announced that it will be cancelled this year.
    Oh no! I'm sorry to hear about that. Well, hopefully you'll have some good luck at the next race, then.
    "....You have to have faith that if you're doing the work now,you'll get there sometime."
    - Nicole Reinhart

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