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Old 01-08-07, 02:20 PM   #1
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Race Report - Early Bird Crit #1

Yesterday I rode my first race, the first in the series of Early Bird Criteriums. The race is structured with a one hour mentoring program, followed by a 40 minute crit.

The mentoring session went well, with drills covering rotating single and double pacelines, cornering lines, and generally getting comfortable riding in close proximity.

The race came up, and I settled in to the pack. I knew it was only a matter of time before I dropped off the back, however, since I was going near my limit just to stay with the bunch. After about 10-15 minutes, I couldn't keep it up any longer and dropped off the back of the pack.

The race was set up as a training criterium, so I was allowed to soft pedal and catch back on with the bunch when they lapped me. I jumped back in to the pack, and about 30 seconds later came the only crash during the race - ahead of me and off to my right. I didn't see much other than tires where there should have been helmets, and the sounds of sliding metal. The race settled down a bit at this point, and I was milling through the pack until 3 laps to go. I called down to the engine room, but all I got was Scotty telling me "I canna do et, cap'n!". I finished the final 2.5 laps alone, figuring it was a good workout to try and get my fitness up to where it obviously needs to be.

I'll be back next week, ready to suffer like a dog again.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by platypus
Yesterday I rode my first race, the first in the series of Early Bird Criteriums. The race is structured with a one hour mentoring program, followed by a 40 minute crit.

The mentoring session went well, with drills covering rotating single and double pacelines, cornering lines, and generally getting comfortable riding in close proximity.

The race came up, and I settled in to the pack. I knew it was only a matter of time before I dropped off the back, however, since I was going near my limit just to stay with the bunch. After about 10-15 minutes, I couldn't keep it up any longer and dropped off the back of the pack.

The race was set up as a training criterium, so I was allowed to soft pedal and catch back on with the bunch when they lapped me. I jumped back in to the pack, and about 30 seconds later came the only crash during the race - ahead of me and off to my right. I didn't see much other than tires where there should have been helmets, and the sounds of sliding metal. The race settled down a bit at this point, and I was milling through the pack until 3 laps to go. I called down to the engine room, but all I got was Scotty telling me "I canna do et, cap'n!". I finished the final 2.5 laps alone, figuring it was a good workout to try and get my fitness up to where it obviously needs to be.

I'll be back next week, ready to suffer like a dog again.
Congratulations! It's always great to hear from other riders who become racers. I did the first 2 earlybirds last year and while I was scard to death I escaped without injury and learned a lot.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:47 PM   #3
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I was there also, I did the 8:30 cat5/4 race! There were three crashes total with two of them being bad pileups (25ish mph on the straigh-aways!). One happened off to my right and I literally saw bodies and bikes flying through the air followed by horrifying sounds of metal and ? crashing to the ground along with some choice curse words...i about quit at that point. But hung in there and was able to finish with the pack with me guessing at placing between 10-12 place (found out later they dont post the results)

Will be out there next weekend also...crossing my fingers for a safe race
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Old 01-08-07, 03:00 PM   #4
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One very helpful thing to avoid crashes, or at least to mitigate the damage if you do end up in one is to keep your head up and eyes up the road as much as possible. I'm sure everybody has seen guys pile into a wreck that's been there for several seconds.

Good job folks, enjoy the pain
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Old 01-08-07, 03:53 PM   #5
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I was out there too, same race as platypus. I felt pretty good off the bat and was in the lead group for the first couple of laps. Then my body decided to remind me that it was only like the 4th ride I've had after 2+ months of no riding.

Having done a bit of this last year, I found it slightly less nerve-wracking this year. The first lap is still a little mind-blowing every time, though! It's always faster than you think it's going to be.

Fun, though.
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Old 01-08-07, 03:55 PM   #6
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Congrats, platypus! Getting that first race in is a big accomplishment. I got hooked at a similar training series last year. Hit the intervals on your training days and before you know it you'll be finishing in the pack.
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Old 01-08-07, 04:16 PM   #7
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Keep those race reports coming, but man I'm already itching to race and it's only January.

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Old 01-08-07, 04:22 PM   #8
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Keep those race reports coming, but man I'm already itching to race and it's only January.

--Steve
that's a good sign. my mouth is watering for some competition too. although, since i've been pretty diligent about spending a lot of time doing aerobic rides, my speed right now is terrible. so, i'm glad the races are a couple of months away.
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Old 01-08-07, 04:26 PM   #9
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Our team training ride ended with a couple practice crits... Actually managed to win one too. That was a HUGE mid-winter enthusiasm boost for me. The first training race around here is 2/18, though...
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Old 01-08-07, 08:17 PM   #10
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In the race before mine (the other "cat 5 new racers" race), there was a guy that went off the front after about 15 minutes and stayed away the whole time. It was an impressive display, but since the stated purpose of the race was to get pack experience I had to wonder why he did it...
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Old 01-08-07, 08:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platypus
In the race before mine (the other "cat 5 new racers" race), there was a guy that went off the front after about 15 minutes and stayed away the whole time. It was an impressive display, but since the stated purpose of the race was to get pack experience I had to wonder why he did it...
I can think of a couple reasons.
Safety from crashing is one, the other would be to test himself to see if he could last.
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Old 01-08-07, 08:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platypus
In the race before mine (the other "cat 5 new racers" race), there was a guy that went off the front after about 15 minutes and stayed away the whole time. It was an impressive display, but since the stated purpose of the race was to get pack experience I had to wonder why he did it...
Those 'young' guys gotta prove themselves

Probably listened too closely when his buddies advised him "Early Birds are so dangerous, if you can get out in front and stay there, you might just live!" I've found that to be a pretty standard line amongst the local (alleged) gurus. I don't agree with that; especially the new 5s; everyone's scared ****less and there's lots more room for error. And anyway, as you say the whole point of the races -- PRACTICE races -- is to get experience in the pack and all of the craziness, that's why the re-absorb you if you get dropped/lapped. The race doesn't count for anything more than a start towards your upgrade; no prizes, no podiums....cripe, they don't even record the results.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by platypus
In the race before mine (the other "cat 5 new racers" race), there was a guy that went off the front after about 15 minutes and stayed away the whole time. It was an impressive display, but since the stated purpose of the race was to get pack experience I had to wonder why he did it...
This the guy on that orange Cannondale who had his forearms resting on the tops in a pseudo-time trial position? He was in my group and cruising effortlessly.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by 'nother
Those 'young' guys gotta prove themselves

Probably listened too closely when his buddies advised him "Early Birds are so dangerous, if you can get out in front and stay there, you might just live!" I've found that to be a pretty standard line amongst the local (alleged) gurus. I don't agree with that; especially the new 5s; everyone's scared ****less and there's lots more room for error. And anyway, as you say the whole point of the races -- PRACTICE races -- is to get experience in the pack and all of the craziness, that's why the re-absorb you if you get dropped/lapped. The race doesn't count for anything more than a start towards your upgrade; no prizes, no podiums....cripe, they don't even record the results.
+1 on the scared ****less part. When I was actually with the lead group, I saw a few rear wheels skip in the turns. Nobody fell or crashed, but the people who saw the skippage were saying little cuss prayers, practically under their breath but you're so close together you hear everything. It was fun times.
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Old 01-09-07, 04:38 PM   #15
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yeah that new cat 5 race was fun. I was the guy in the orange and black cyclesports jacket who went with that flyer off the front, the huge dude in all black. fun race. kept in the top 10 till I blew up in the bell lap from going too soon. did y'all see the dude with the cargo rack on his bike? crazy!
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Old 01-09-07, 05:29 PM   #16
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keep it up fellas.. keep at it and get out of those crazy 5 races asap.. crashes on the straights.. hahha, i remember that stuff... the pain should be cleasning.. didnt you feel great afterwards??

I have 2 goals this year, the prolouge TT in our training series cup, and the Club Championship Road race..
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Old 01-10-07, 04:06 PM   #17
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The worst crash of the day was on the finishing straight in the 1/2/3 race.
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Old 01-10-07, 04:56 PM   #18
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::edit:: well the wife has a early morning appointment on Sun. Looks like ill be babysitting instead of racing

bummer

good luck all!

Last edited by bayareawheeler; 01-11-07 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 01-10-07, 10:34 PM   #19
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The worst crash of the day was on the finishing straight in the 1/2/3 race.
I heard it was Patrick Briggs. Broke his femur and is out for the season. That sucks big time. A couple of years ago at the Early Bird RR, Kevin Klein in the 1/2's crashed when his bike when down on some black ice. He ended up with a broken femur too, and was out for the entire season.
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Old 01-11-07, 12:32 PM   #20
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gads, that's awful. done for the year on 1/7.
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Old 01-11-07, 05:39 PM   #21
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The worst crash of the day was on the finishing straight in the 1/2/3 race.
to sum up the day, there were bad crashes in EVERY event. the women 4/5 and cat1/2/3's getting the worst of it.
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Old 01-11-07, 05:49 PM   #22
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to sum up the day, there were bad crashes in EVERY event. the women 4/5 and cat1/2/3's getting the worst of it.
Except for the 12:20 Cat V, <35 race. No crashes there!
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Old 01-11-07, 11:56 PM   #23
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The Early birds are scary I did a couple a few years ago and every race I did had at least 1-3 crashes and most were on the straights which is even more scary. From then on I have stuck to just racing road races.
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Old 01-12-07, 06:45 AM   #24
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to sum up the day, there were bad crashes in EVERY event....cat1/2/3's getting the worst of it.
???

Impossible!

Everyone knows that only the "Crash 5's" go down. (At least, that's what I'm always reading on this board).
[insert "sarcastic" smiley here]

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Old 01-12-07, 01:39 PM   #25
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Except for the 12:20 Cat V, <35 race. No crashes there!
That just means you guys owe fremont skin this week..
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