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Old 08-15-06, 03:19 PM   #1
Lithuania
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is it tougher for a newb to start racing this late in the season?

I was originally planning on waiting until next season to race. First I wanted to get my fitness in order. Then I wanted to get in some group training rides during the off season. After all that I figured I would be ready to race. This past weekend I went on my first group ride in chicago and it has my confidence soaring. I was able to ride comfortably in 2 row pace line at speeds over 20mph for 2 hours. Ive never had an issue riding in close quarters so I wasnt worried about that I just didnt know if I would be able to hang at faster speeds. I still dont know what it must be like cornering at high speed in a group so that still has me worried.

So if I decided to go out for some races now, this late in the season what should I expect? Would I suffer because the cat 4 racers are most likely a lot more in shape at this point? Would I benefit because most of the riders should be more skilled by this point?
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Old 08-15-06, 03:27 PM   #2
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Go for it. Its never too late or too early to start, the more experience you get, the better. Right now, however, is probably when most riders are coming off thier peak and will still be pretty fast. But keep training as hard as you can and in a few weeks, a lot of guys will have cut back on training and you might be able to do something in the last races of the year.
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Old 08-15-06, 03:28 PM   #3
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It's going to be harder at the end of the season racing against people who've been racing all year. However if you get a race or two in this season it will be that much easier next spring.

If I'm interpreting your post correctly, this past weekend was the first group ride you've done? If that's correct. I'd try to spend the fall doing some fast group rides and hold off on racing just a bit. Find the fast training ride in your area and it will be about as helpful as actual races.

If you've done a decent number of group rides, then I'd say do some races nowl and start building experience for next spring.
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Old 08-15-06, 04:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riskus
So if I decided to go out for some races now, this late in the season what should I expect? Would I suffer because the cat 4 racers are most likely a lot more in shape at this point? Would I benefit because most of the riders should be more skilled by this point?


If you're just starting, you will be cat 5 (unless you are a woman, then you start as a cat 4).

Other cat 5's by this time of the year are either:
A) Other people just doing their first few races (or their very first race)
B) Sandbaggers who are too chicken to upgrade to 4's
C) Those who only raced a few times all year

At this time of year, it's usually the cat 4 races that is the biggest field of the day. There will be strong guys who just upgraded, strong guys who have been cat 4's all year, sandbaggers and hangers on.

Just go out and try it. Put your money down, pin on a number and go for it. No amount of training will prepare you for your first race. It will be hard. Going for group rides will only help your confidence of close riding. Now if your group rides have town line sprints and "attacks", etc that's better, but still it's not a race.
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Old 08-15-06, 04:58 PM   #5
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Depends how fit you are.
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Old 08-15-06, 07:54 PM   #6
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No real point in waiting. Just jump in and get started.

Bob
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Old 08-15-06, 08:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cat4ever
If you're just starting, you will be cat 5 (unless you are a woman, then you start as a cat 4).

Other cat 5's by this time of the year are either:
A) Other people just doing their first few races (or their very first race)
B) Sandbaggers who are too chicken to upgrade to 4's
C) Those who only raced a few times all year
or D) not sandbagging, not pack fodder (in the 5's, at least), on mass start 9 of 10.
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Old 08-15-06, 11:03 PM   #8
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Just try it and get the experience. I've been doing fast group rides (22+) for the past year and am comfortable in large packs. However, in my first race, it was an eye opening experience. Red lined from the word go for the first 20 mins then shot out the back. Several others that got dropped just worked together to try to bridge the gap for the next 20 mins.
I knew it was going to be fast but I didn't expect a cat 5 to be avg 26/27 for the first 20 mins. By the time the pace slowed (22-24) I was drained and could barely do my share of the work with the rest of the guys that got dropped.
So let's see: I red-lined early and never recovered, got dropped, it was painful, felt an onset of a cramp - and I can't wait to do it again in 2 weeks.

This experience just gave me more motivation to work harder in the offseason and be ready for the winter/spring crits to start.
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Old 08-15-06, 11:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riskus
So if I decided to go out for some races now, this late in the season what should I expect? Would I suffer because the cat 4 racers are most likely a lot more in shape at this point? Would I benefit because most of the riders should be more skilled by this point?
Go race. Biggest problem in racing is overthinking things.
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Old 08-16-06, 01:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
Go race. Biggest problem in racing is overthinking things.
+1

Just go out and try whatever is left, crits, RR, TT, whatever it is that's left. It would actually be a most
excellent move to make - because it will give you a sense of what your strengths are and what you can do to improve for next season.

In my first month of racing, it became very apparent that I am not so good at crits, but really enjoy (and do better at) the TT's. This is useful information to get regardless of what point in the season it is.
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Old 08-16-06, 04:59 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone! I am going to at least check out the training crit race that Dr Pete does every week next week.

There were town limit sprints in the group ride I did last week but being an out of town newb i didnt realize they were sprinting for a sign and thought they were just trying to drop me so I just stayed on a wheel instead of trying to go around them. Ive been kicking myself all week for not realizing what was going on.
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Old 08-16-06, 08:49 AM   #12
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"This experience just gave me more motivation to work harder in the offseason and be ready for the winter/spring crits to start."

I was going to do the same this summer then a buddy told me just do a few races to see what it's about. So I've done three and am glad I did. Now I know what it's like and know what I have to work on though the off season. Go for it.
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Old 08-16-06, 09:00 AM   #13
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there is usually always at least a couple of newbies in every cat 5 race. i would use it as a guage to see how much work you need to do before next season.
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Old 08-16-06, 09:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
Go race. Biggest problem in racing is overthinking things.
+2

i started racing at this point in the season, many moons ago. i got dropped quite a bit, but managed to finish a few races, and even won a turkey at the Turkey Race in central park.

the few races i did gave me added motivation to train over the winter, and some experience, rather than none, when i started racing properly the following march.
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Old 08-16-06, 09:42 AM   #15
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this post is gettinig me more excited. I didnt think about how it would help me stay motivated during the offseason. That is a great reason to try a race or two before the end.

I might dabble in some cross races too.
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Old 08-16-06, 10:20 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by DrPete
or D) not sandbagging, not pack fodder (in the 5's, at least), on mass start 9 of 10.

That's what I meant by "Those who only raced a few times all year".
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Old 08-16-06, 12:30 PM   #17
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Thanks guys. I was kind of wondering the same thing as Riskus. I did my first TT this past sunday. I got humbled, big time. I learned and had fun so it was a good experience. I will be doing my first crit on the 26th.
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Old 08-16-06, 12:43 PM   #18
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The pace will be quicker at the end of the season like you have guessed.

Go for it and have fun.
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Old 08-16-06, 08:03 PM   #19
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I often get some of my best results late in the season. Fewer people are racing, so you have not so many numbers to fight. If you have been riding though this season but just haven't race you'll hold your own.
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Old 08-17-06, 01:04 PM   #20
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Dont be disappointed when your are dropped on the third lap, it happens to nearly every first timer. Start at the front and stay at the front its the easiest postion in the field, dont get suckered in to thinking you have to pull. If you get dropped and want to cintinue stay to the outside of the course so the pack doesnt have to avoid you when you get lapped.
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Old 08-17-06, 07:17 PM   #21
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im really worried about the accordian/yoyo thing now. I went on a fast group ride tonight and was fine going 22 mph plus as long as I was in the front as soon as something happened and I got sent to the back I got blown up when we went through corners. I made it 13 miles before I hit the wall.

It probably didnt help that I went on a 50 mile ride before this group ride.
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Old 09-18-06, 06:46 PM   #22
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my biggest regret after competing in one training crit and one circuit is

why didnt i do this earlier! Now I have to wait months and months to race again.

UGH
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Old 09-19-06, 08:13 AM   #23
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welcome to the dark side. don't worry, after a few months you'll have pre-season races. that's when it's really fun...waking up at 5am and racing in 30 degree darkness.
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Old 09-19-06, 09:59 AM   #24
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oooooh i cant wait for those.

i already ordered a pair of race wheels for next year.
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Old 09-19-06, 10:36 AM   #25
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The racing bug has bitten, hide your Credit Cards and wave goodby to your bank balance!
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