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Old 03-09-07, 06:52 PM   #1
GRedner
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Quick - tell me everything I need to know about crits

So I'm strongly considering doing a local training race this Sunday: http://www.bostonroadclub.com/wellsave.asp

I have *never* raced before. I don't have a clue what the rules are, how best to warm up, what to expect in terms of pace, competition, or strategy.

Am I insane? Is this a bad idea? Or, is this a great idea, and I should just throw myself into it and see what happens?

Teach me! Quick!
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Old 03-09-07, 06:55 PM   #2
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It should be fun for you, if you're at the right fitness level to be able to stay with the pack. Warm up on a trainer if you have one, if not, try to ride around the streets in the area. Try to stay toward the front if you can, and be ready for a sprint finish.
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Old 03-09-07, 06:56 PM   #3
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If you've ridden with some reasonably fast guys in a pack, you're not insane, and you should give it a go.

If you don't have some experience riding in a pack, go watch, and get a few hard group rides in, and then give it a go.
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Old 03-09-07, 06:59 PM   #4
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Stay up front, but not the front.
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Old 03-09-07, 07:18 PM   #5
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watch out for the guys who seem to think that 18th place on lap 3 is as important as 1st place at the finish.
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Old 03-09-07, 09:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input, guys.

I have ridden with some fairly fast guys (and been dropped by the same, but not often). I've never ridden competitively with them, though. Probably my biggest worry is getting knocked around if the pack tightens up, or having someone elbow me and getting intimidated.

Fortunately I will be riding to the race, so hopefully I won't need much else in the way of warmup.

I'm also not much of a sprinter, so the finish should be "interesting." Maybe I'll go out tomorrow and try to practice without tiring myself too much.
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Old 03-09-07, 10:31 PM   #7
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Look farther ahead than you think you need to, and look at everything in between.

Flow through the turns. Don't turn-correct-turn-correct-turn-correct. Learn the rhythm quick.

Relax. Never panic. If you bump elbows: fine. If you bump QR levers: not so fine.
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Old 03-09-07, 11:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dog hair
watch out for the guys who seem to think that 18th place on lap 3 is as important as 1st place at the finish.
Or when all of a sudden 30 guys think they have a shot at the win.
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Old 03-09-07, 11:51 PM   #9
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Downshift going into the corners. If you're far back in the pack, drop 2 or 3 cogs. It will help you as the accordion contracts and the tail catches back up to the fast front. This accordion effect is one reason people will tell you to stay near the front. As fast as the front is going, the rear needs to go even faster after every corner to reform the pack.
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Old 03-10-07, 12:22 AM   #10
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Use the force!
If you are at the back going in to the corner let some distance build between you and a rider in the front. With accordion affect you will catch up to them. If you time it right it would be going out of the corner when the sprint starts, you use less energy. Somewhat tricky to do since you need to time it right.
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Old 03-10-07, 12:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRedner
I should just throw myself into it and see what happens?
yep


Get some quick hard efforts in your warmup

The pace will be set, very fast at times, slow at times, keep on a wheel

The rules, first one over the finish line on the last lap wins,
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Old 03-10-07, 12:58 PM   #12
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Don't overlap wheels.

Don't use the brakes, go around riders if it slows up.
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Old 03-10-07, 03:09 PM   #13
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I went out to preview the course today, and ran into a couple of guys doing the same. One had raced there last year, so I asked him some newbie questions. Apparently n his first race he got dropped and had to finish the race all alone - this makes me feel better, since there's a good chance the same will happen to me

The course is pretty simple, and fairly flat. About 1/3 of the course is a long straightaway that rises slightly. At the end of ths there's a hard right that turns uphill, and then a descent that turns less sharply and drops more gradually. My bike handling skills are decent (from commuting every day in traffic), but the straight section worries me. I can't sprint. At all. I may just spin to the line, unless I get a sudden burst of confidence.
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Old 03-10-07, 03:48 PM   #14
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one thing's for sure..
don't let idiots on the internet decide whether you have a shot at the win or not. i get sick of people *****ing about how they got screwed because 20 guys went for the win at the same time. if you think you have a shot at it, then go for it. no holds barred. figure out for yourself if you can win races or not. that's what cat5 is for. and if some jerk-off starts crying about how you got in his way, then you just tell them that if they were any good in the first place they would have been in a better position.

i remember during one race last year, i had some jackass on my wheel telling me not to stand on climbs because it causes too much of a surge. i told him if he doesn't like it he can be a mooch on someone else's wheel or take the lead.
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Old 03-10-07, 03:53 PM   #15
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just go out and have fun. good luck
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Old 03-10-07, 04:38 PM   #16
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You're going to go HARD right from the start - be prepared for that!
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Old 03-10-07, 05:38 PM   #17
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Be prepared to suffer, someone should post a power file from a crit. It's 45-60 minutes of intervals...hard intervals.
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Old 03-10-07, 10:14 PM   #18
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Be prepared to suffer, someone should post a power file from a crit. It's 45-60 minutes of intervals...hard intervals.
Bear in mind that my Polar power sensor missed quick efforts by a couple hundred watts, but here's one from last week. Purple is power, red is HR. NOT a steady effort. Note also that the biggest power spike is right at the start (the end of my warmup was included in that file)

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Old 03-10-07, 10:28 PM   #19
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Its Wells ave. Don't take it too seriously, have fun, you should never need to brake unless someone does something stupid (which will happen in the C/D race). If you're comfortable sprinting, go early...dont worry bout the breakaways, and remember the most important item you can win is Shaklees.
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Old 03-11-07, 03:33 AM   #20
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Pick out a guy you know and have ridden with before and follow him around. Keep your head up and look at his hips & back to see what the pack's doing. Use your binocular vision to gauge your distance to him, you don't even have to look down at the tyres. Don't follow so close that you have to coast and brake to avoid rear-ending him. Learn to soft-pedal, that is pedal fast without pushing hard.

And know what "hold your line" means. You should follow your guy around the course and ride right over his tyre-tracks. Just practice following people around and hang on for the finish. Work on your sprints & intervals outside of the practice-races. Those will be what will help you win... and learning all the chess-moves of the pack... Good luck!
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