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  1. #1
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    snake alley criterium

    I know there are a few members on this board that have done this race. What training tips do you have for a race like this? If my schedule permits it I will travel out to this event but I would like to be at least a little bit prepared for it. Duke of Kent? Steaktaco?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riskus
    I know there are a few members on this board that have done this race. What training tips do you have for a race like this? If my schedule permits it I will travel out to this event but I would like to be at least a little bit prepared for it. Duke of Kent? Steaktaco?

    Riase your pain threshold?

    Haha.

    As far as I'm aware, there's no other race like it. Well, maybe the old San Fran GP or the races up the Manayunk wall in Philly. In terms of training, ummm...some 1-2min intervals with 1min rest might help. I mean, pretty much standard crit training, in a way. There is no need to work on your sprint because it won't come down to one. Even in the pro/1/2 race it usually becomes an ITT. The packs in all of the races get blown up IMMEDIATELY. Last year I was behind by 15s at the end of the first lap.

    Speaking of that: as soon as registration opens, sign up. They line you up for the Snake according to your bib number, which is dependent on when you send in your money and registration info. First people get the front row, and the guys who sign up the day of the race get jammed in the back. Each row only has 10 people, and they usually had 6-7 rows in the 4s last year. If you're fast and get caught in the back, you're screwed. Mainly because you'll have slower guys impeding you going uphill, they might pass you again going downhill, and then they won't be able to work with you on the flat. So while you can move up it requires more energy than it should. Get to the front IMMEDIATELY, because unlike other crits, if you don't within the first lap or two, your race is done. It pays to 15 in the 4s, but upgrade points only go to the top, what, 6?

    Of the 14 blocks the race covers, 6 are flat-ish, 2 are uphill, and 6 are descending. In the second image, clockwise, N. 6th Street is uphill, Columbia to 4th is downhill, 4th to Washington is downhill, Washington to Main is downhill, and then one block of Main Street is downhill. The second block of Main Street and then the rest of the course is flat or slightly up/down.

    I would also advise you to NOT do the Burlington road race if you are a Cat4/5. Some of the worst crashes I've ever seen happened not 100m from the finish line there, last year. DO stick around for Melon City and the Quad Cities Crit, also known as the "Cage Match". Both of those are AWESOME races.
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  3. #3
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    i dont think im going to be able to do anything else other then the snake alley race so im not worried about crashing out at the other race.

    How long does it generally take to get up the alley? Thats what I would like to know. That would give me some specific to work on I would assume.

    thanks

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    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riskus
    i dont think im going to be able to do anything else other then the snake alley race so im not worried about crashing out at the other race.

    How long does it generally take to get up the alley? Thats what I would like to know. That would give me some specific to work on I would assume.

    thanks


    Ummmm I'd say around a minute to climb up and over? The lower section of 6th Street is pretty sharp, then the intersection with Washington is flat, then you hit the snake. If possible, you want to stay to the OUTSIDE of all of the turns going up the Snake, because they are at far less of an incline than the inside sections of the turns. This is only really possible in the later sections of the race, though, when the race is spread out. Plenty of people are forced to get off and run their bike up the hill the first lap.
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    Senior Member eskimo85's Avatar
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    Snake Alley is on my schedule too, but never done it. Do you change anything about your equipment or set up? What cat are you guys racing? I'm in 4s.

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    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eskimo85
    Snake Alley is on my schedule too, but never done it. Do you change anything about your equipment or set up? What cat are you guys racing? I'm in 4s.
    Keep the setup the same. Just as much or more time is spent on the downhill and flat. Good light aero wheels are acceptable changes, though. The cobbles are quite smooth despite their appearance.

    I'll be riding as a guest rider in the Pro/1/2/3 RR, then in the 3s races in the Snake, Melon City and the Cage Match.
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    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    ill be in the 4s.

    Is 25 a small enough gear for this?

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    Never done snake alley, but based on the descriptions given, you (riskus) should go to brickyard road off of Macarthur over here in MD near the DC border, go up it as hard as you can, look at a map for street names, but make a couple of right turns in a neighborhood until you get to mountain gate drive, go down it to Macarthur, go right then another right on brickyard and repeat until you get bored. Then reverse it by going up Mt. gate, and making lefts. That should do it.

    Come out some sat. when you arent working and do the DC velo 7 a.m. for all the enjoyment riding up brickyard has to offer.

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    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    Thanks MD. I found it on a map. I will have to try it next week.

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    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riskus
    ill be in the 4s.

    Is 25 a small enough gear for this?
    Depends how well you climb. If I had a clear path and no one in front of me, and could build up some speed in the lower sections, I did it in my 53 a couple of times. I'll probably be using a 54/42x11-23 this year. Figure a 42 should give me plenty of wiggle room and I shouldn't be going slow enough to really necessitate a 39.

    But, a 39x25 should get it done, yes. It will hurt no matter what gear you're in, though.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Kent
    Riase your pain threshold?



    I would also advise you to NOT do the Burlington road race if you are a Cat4/5. Some of the worst crashes I've ever seen happened not 100m from the finish line there, last year. .
    This year there is a race for cat 3&4, and a separate race for cat 5 only. This hopefully will help cut down on the crashes.

  12. #12
    Oh The Huge Manatee Lithuania's Avatar
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    when does registration open?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riskus
    when does registration open?
    It's not up yet. The races are on Memorial Day weekend, so they should be getting it open pretty soon, I would imagine.


    http://www.bikeiowa.org/mdwbr/mdwbr.html

    Check that every day for more info.

    @ CrazyB: How long is Burlington going to be for the Cat3/4 guys? Want to know if it will be worth my time and taxing my legs...
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Kent
    It's not up yet. The races are on Memorial Day weekend, so they should be getting it open pretty soon, I would imagine.


    http://www.bikeiowa.org/mdwbr/mdwbr.html

    Check that every day for more info.

    @ CrazyB: How long is Burlington going to be for the Cat3/4 guys? Want to know if it will be worth my time and taxing my legs...
    About 32 miles for the Wapello to Burlington race. Totally flat.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Hmmm a little short for a 3s race, especially in that area. Not long enough to break the bungy cord between the strong guys and the weaker 4s. I'll be going for a solo ride around Burlington instead.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  16. #16
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    The problem that I always had with Snake Alley was in my upper body, especially my arms. By the last third of the race, my upper arms were like noodles from pulling on the bars. One year, I crashed with three laps to go and a team mate on the side tried to put me back on the bike, but i was so happy that i didn't have to climb that f-ing hill again, that I wouldn't let him.
    Dennis T

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