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Old 08-04-06, 01:05 AM   #1
dmotoguy
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2 races down..

I finished my first crit tonight, but i got dropped after the first 4-5 laps or so.. I just cannot quite hang with the pace i guess. I have not been doing any intervals at all, just lots of hill climbs, so I think this may be my problem but im not sure.. The pace today was around 27mph, is this normal for a 4/5 crit, all flat? should i just start doing a lot of intervals, or should i just do longer rides and build my base up for next season?
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Old 08-04-06, 01:21 AM   #2
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it definitely helps to develop the power to stay on with the group. i remember my first club ride back in the day when i found out just how fast a race pace was. even though i had worked really hard to get into the shape i was in at the time, i just wasn't as fast as i thought.
it was a great wake-up all for sure, and because of that i wasn't caught by surprise in my first race.

it even happened this year when i decided to take racing more seriously. i figured i'd go on that same group ride just to see what it was like again, and of course i got dropped. but it was a reminder of how much hard work you have to put in just to get up to speed. and then, once you're able to roll with the pack, it's even more hard work to get to the point where you can run up front.

just keep working at it. if you think you're working hard now and you aren't able to hang with those guys, then you're either doing something wrong training-wise or you aren't working hard enough when you do train.
this is just one of those processes you go through that makes you realize you can push yourself alot harder and farther than you thought. once you figure it out, you'll do nothing but improve.
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Old 08-04-06, 04:34 AM   #3
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+1. I had the same experience when I started racing crits. I think part of the problem is that 90% of the races in lower cats are crits and we all want to train like road racers. I started doing shorter workouts (45min to 2 hrs) and including more intervals and my crit riding/sprinting improved dramatically.

Stay with it, and eventually you'll finish with the pack. Then, after a while, you'll find yourself in the sprint for the line. Just work on training for the events that you're actually riding. It's cool to be a good climber, etc., but it won't win you any crits.
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Old 08-04-06, 06:00 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmotoguy
I finished my first crit tonight, but i got dropped after the first 4-5 laps or so.. I just cannot quite hang with the pace i guess. I have not been doing any intervals at all, just lots of hill climbs, so I think this may be my problem but im not sure.. The pace today was around 27mph, is this normal for a 4/5 crit, all flat? should i just start doing a lot of intervals, or should i just do longer rides and build my base up for next season?
Stick with it and you'll eventually turn the corner. Here's 3 recommendations:

1. train with faster riders. They'll push you beyond where you think your limits are. "Training crits", if available in your area are great learning/fitness opportunities.

2. learn how "periodization" works. In a nutshell, your training differs depending on the time of year. You do long "base" rides in the winter, progressively shortening the length and increasing the intensity as the season progresses. You can't just do sprint intervals all year 'round. Friel and Carmichael both have good books out that explain the process.

3. stick with a training program. Don't just ride helter skelter, 50 miles one week, 250 miles the next, with no discernible goals or plan. Plan your work (training is the "work" part, and racing is the "fun" part), and then work your plan. Be patient. Fitness gains come s-l-o-w-l-y, and mostly as the result of consistent training.

Here's my personal story: After 4 years of consistent club riding, averaging about 6,000 miles a year (the past 2 years with the club's "A" group) I thought I was ready for racing. I joined a team last fall and started training for the spring '06 racing season. What a surprise when I was absolutely humiliated in my first race in February. It was so much faster, so much more intense, and so much more aggressive than anything I expected. But I stuck with it and by March I was able to at least finish a race. By April I was placing. It's a long, slow, and often ego-grounding experience. But if you stick with it, you will get there. Of course, when you do, then it will be time to "upgrade" and start the process all over again! LOL.

Anyway, welcome to the brotherhood of racing cyclists. Enjoy your journey.

Bob
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Old 08-04-06, 11:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by DrPete
+1. I had the same experience when I started racing crits. I think part of the problem is that 90% of the races in lower cats are crits and we all want to train like road racers.
You'll notice that world class track riders for events as short as 3km train very much like their road counterparts. The reason is that whether the even is 3 or 300 km, the primary determinant of success is aerobic fitness.
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Old 08-04-06, 11:50 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by asgelle
You'll notice that world class track riders for events as short as 3km train very much like their road counterparts. The reason is that whether the even is 3 or 300 km, the primary determinant of success is aerobic fitness.
I don't know much (anything, actually) about training for track racing, but I don't see how a 3km sprint has anything to do with aerobic fitness over a period of hours. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just new to this and don't understand how a 50-mile aerobic ride is going to build any strength for that 3km race. I'd figure those guys would be spending their time at or above LT or in the weight room.

I'm not saying that a good aerobic base is bad or anything, but spending 4 hours a week doing climbing repeats isn't going to help as much in training for a crit as shorter, higher-intensity intervals. At our level (Cat 5 for me and the OP) there's so much room to improve across the board that we can train in any one thing we want and improve pretty dramatically. So if you're limited in training time or whatever, it would seem logical to train to improve the limiters (props to Joe Friel) that are relevant to your most common race format.
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Old 08-04-06, 11:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmotoguy
should i just start doing a lot of intervals, or should i just do longer rides and build my base up for next season?
Both. You need base endurance. To do well in crits you also need the ability to go anerobic and recover quickly. So you need a plan that includes base miles; work at lactate threshold, " steady states" (long intervals at 8/10ths effort) and anerobic type efforts (short all out intervals) all mixed in with adequate rest and recovery.

The stedy state intervals will raise the level of work you can do before you go anerobic, and the short intense intervals will help you prepare for those type efforts in races. Buy a book by Friel or Carmichael, and you can set out a plan for yourself.
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Old 08-04-06, 01:33 PM   #8
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Dropped and burried... that is what happened to me in my first crit !

I need to train much much harder from now on !!!
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Old 08-04-06, 02:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DrPete
I don't know much (anything, actually) about training for track racing, but I don't see how a 3km sprint has anything to do with aerobic fitness over a period of hours. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just new to this and don't understand how a 50-mile aerobic ride is going to build any strength for that 3km race. I'd figure those guys would be spending their time at or above LT or in the weight room.

3 km pursuit is an endurance ride on the track... (masters distance-- elites do 4 km). It's definitely not a sprint, though track pursuiters tend to turn up as road sprinters.

I race primarily track endurance (points, scratch, madison) and still do at least one long (60-100 miles) zone 2 ride with hills almost every week, and track intervals a couple times a week. If I don't do the endurance ride it's hard to stay in the longer points races/madisons. The intervals provide speed and recovery time.
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Old 08-04-06, 02:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bitingduck
3 km pursuit is an endurance ride on the track... (masters distance-- elites do 4 km). It's definitely not a sprint, though track pursuiters tend to turn up as road sprinters.

I race primarily track endurance (points, scratch, madison) and still do at least one long (60-100 miles) zone 2 ride with hills almost every week, and track intervals a couple times a week. If I don't do the endurance ride it's hard to stay in the longer points races/madisons. The intervals provide speed and recovery time.
Huh... interesting. I guess it's a whole separate world. I re-read my post and I don't want to argue against the idea of base miles or anything, but it sounded like the OP was looking for what would help him the most, in-season, to keep from getting shelled at his next crit. That's why I poo-pooed the long aero rides.
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Old 08-04-06, 02:24 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DrPete
I don't know much (anything, actually) about training for track racing, but I don't see how a 3km sprint has anything to do with aerobic fitness over a period of hours. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just new to this and don't understand how a 50-mile aerobic ride is going to build any strength for that 3km race. I'd figure those guys would be spending their time at or above LT or in the weight room.
Well this was taken straight from the USAC training manual http://www.midweekclub.com/articles/coggan.pdf

"For example, simply looking at the power-duration curve might lead one to conclude that the factors determining performance in a track pursuit and in a road TT are significantly different, since power falls off very rapidly during the first few minutes of exercise. By applying the CP concept, however, it becomes clear that performance in both events is heavily dependent on the individualís power at LT, since critical power plays a significant role in determining how much work they can perform even during relatively short duration exercise (Fig. 3.). From a training perspective, this makes it easier to understand why elite pursuiters often train 30,000-40,000 km/y. (emphasis added) Similarly, application of the CP concept helps explain why even lower category or masters racers whose events might be less than 1 h in duration can often still benefit from multi-hour training sessions."
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Old 08-04-06, 03:07 PM   #12
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It is quite simple - to have a high LT you need to train below, at, and above LT... not just at or above LT! I could not go do sprints right now because my aerobic systems sucks, but once I get my aerobic system going then the higher level workouts can happen...

We also have to maintain aerobic conditioning year round!
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Old 08-04-06, 03:16 PM   #13
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Sprint intervals have helped my push my cruising speed up in a relatively short time (months as opposed to years). Two to four minutes at 80% then all out for 30 seconds. Recover two to four minutes. Repeat. Its a lot like the crit races I have been in. Do about a half hour or more of these drills (if your sprint is still a sprint).
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Old 08-04-06, 03:37 PM   #14
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It is quite simple - to have a high LT you need to train below, at, and above LT... not just at or above LT! I could not go do sprints right now because my aerobic systems sucks, but once I get my aerobic system going then the higher level workouts can happen...

We also have to maintain aerobic conditioning year round!
I get all that, but all the aero base in the world right now won't help finish the season any stronger, and it sounds like the OP is looking for advice on what to focus on in the short term. I totally understand and agree with you that you need base miles and training below LT...
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