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Old 01-09-07, 09:03 PM   #1
wrote4luck
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First race in a month

Well, I found out there is a road race in my town on Feb 18. This will be my first road race ever, hopefully I make it to the finish without broken bones. The best part of it is that the course is one of my favorite training rides! I have a question: in a Cat 5 race is it best to sprint out ahead at the start to get away from all of the squirrels, or is there a better method? I've been practicing my paceline skills alot, but I haven't yet discussed race starts with anyone yet.
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Old 01-09-07, 09:34 PM   #2
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In my experience, I'd just get up to the front 1/4 or 1/3 quickly and try to stay there. There's a ton of braking/gunning-it in the mid & back and it's just no fun, even if you don't crash and since nobody really pushes the pace you can get blocked towards the end if the pack stays together. Also there won't be a paceline per se, more of an amorpheus blob that sorta stretches and contracts.
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Old 01-09-07, 09:35 PM   #3
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Hang out in the top 7-8 positions for the whole race. It reduces the yo-yo you get at the back and you still get to draft.

As for the finish, launch yourself from 300 meters. You'll either win or or be swallowed up and still get in the top 5.
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Old 01-10-07, 08:25 AM   #4
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Are you talking of the RR in Florida?
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Old 01-10-07, 08:50 AM   #5
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Just stay up front, but not in the first 3-4 positions. From there you can respond to anything, avoid the accordion effect and avoid most of the carnage that happens
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Old 01-10-07, 09:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cypress
Hang out in the top 7-8 positions for the whole race. It reduces the yo-yo you get at the back and you still get to draft.

As for the finish, launch yourself from 300 meters. You'll either win or or be swallowed up and still get in the top 5.
To add to that a bit, when Cypress says "launch yourself," he means exactly that. If you're off the front, go like you've never gone before. I managed to get a nice solo break with about 1/2 mile to go in a race last season, and once I opened up a gap I let up a bit. Bad idea. I got gobbled up with 100m to go and finished 6th.

So, should you find yourself in that position, love the pain. It'll be over soon. Good luck!
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Old 01-10-07, 10:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by YMCA
Are you talking of the RR in Florida?
Yup, the one in Dade City. It's only 30 min from my place near USF. It's only 40mi for the Cat 5 group, so I should be able to do OK, judging from the training rides I've been doing with the local racing teams. We roll at around 27-28 around here on weekends with intervals on up to 35mph, so how would a paceline like that compare to an actual raceday group?
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Old 01-10-07, 10:38 AM   #8
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sounds like you'll kick some butt, but I'm guessing Florida is flat as a pancake, so I'm not sure how the mph would translate.
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Old 01-10-07, 11:27 AM   #9
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race day

well my experience was, when the gun went off, the hammer went down.. the speed and adrenalin was way more than any training ride.. it really goes fast.. if you can hang in till about the mid race point either your legs will be fried, and you know it, or you will feel the gas pedal. THAT is the addictive part.. suffering like a dog watching the pack go away is NOT addictive.. feeling like you can rip them a new one is VERY addictive.... that almost never happens in the first race.. but if you are strong.. and work at it.. after a few races you will find yourself manuvering where you want to go in the race... and the the last 300 is as described... I would suggest alome every new racer, enter a road race first even if it is a long circuit.. a crit can either make you or break you real quick.. it is a lot more dangerous.. a lot more of a train wreck.. after your first crit is over you will most probably feel like the skunk who screwed the porcupine... He didnt get all he wanted but he got all he could stand....
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Old 01-10-07, 11:34 AM   #10
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That RR is not flat at all. It is in the highlands that run down the middle of the state. Nothing long, just short little power climbs, one after another.

The only advice I will give you, is to beware the first long downhill. Yellow line rule is in effect and guys will be nervous. The 35/45 had 120 starters last year and a big pile-up the very first lap on that downhill, because everyone was fighting to stay up front. I heard there were 50 pp left in the front group after only one 17 mile loop. And not because of the crash.

The meat of the course is the second half, after turning off the main road. It winds around and up and down. Last year, I raced the P12 and the crosswinds helped make it even harder back in there, so enjoy.

Don't worry, any race with cat5's in it, is only allowed 75 riders. If it is a 4/5 event, I'd suggest pre registering, as it will fill for sure.
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Old 01-10-07, 01:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YMCA
That RR is not flat at all. It is in the highlands that run down the middle of the state. Nothing long, just short little power climbs, one after another.
+1. There are virtually no flat sections. You are either going up or going down 80% of the time, with about 10 substantial "ups" each lap.

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Old 01-10-07, 02:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrote4luck
Yup, the one in Dade City. It's only 30 min from my place near USF. It's only 40mi for the Cat 5 group, so I should be able to do OK, judging from the training rides I've been doing with the local racing teams. We roll at around 27-28 around here on weekends with intervals on up to 35mph, so how would a paceline like that compare to an actual raceday group?
The terrain in San Antonio (a/k/a Dade City) is way different from the terrain near USF. I suggest you go out to the San Antonio County Park for the 8:00 a.m. Sunday ride and see how long you can hang. That will give you a good idea of the terrain, the group dynamics, and the speeds. (Well, actually, the speeds will be somewhat higher on Sundays than a Cat. 5 race because there are quite a few folks on that ride who are Cat. 3's and 2's and even a couple of Pros.)

The advice about pre-registering is right on. They were turning folks away on race-day last year.

Bob
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Old 01-10-07, 02:39 PM   #13
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First race, "sprinting out ahead" is probably not a good idea. The 5-10 spots back advice is very good. That's the sweet spot with the least work, and also tends to be safer. However, most everyone knows this and wants this position.

If you do try to break from the gun, in a Cat 5 race, everyone will come with you, you'll do a lot of work at a minimum, and you may set yourself up to get dropped.

And as for leaving the squirrels? This is your first race? Who do you think all these Cat 5 squirrels are? Pot meet kettle.
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Old 01-10-07, 04:02 PM   #14
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And as for leaving the squirrels? This is your first race? Who do you think all these Cat 5 squirrels are? Pot meet kettle.
Ha, point taken. Yeah, I plan on being out there this sunday morning. I figure with a month to go it'll give me at least two chances to ride the course before it's race time.
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Old 01-11-07, 06:10 AM   #15
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Why don't you hop into the local training crits that BBC (The Stedjes) puts on every Sun leading up to the season.
That will bring you more confidence racing in a pack, before heading out with 75 nervous newbies.

Remember, baby steps...
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Old 01-11-07, 09:33 AM   #16
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I haven't heard of those crits. I'll guess I'll ask one of the BBC guys that rides on Sat about it. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 01-12-07, 01:08 PM   #17
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Have fun and try not to think about it too much.
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