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Old 06-11-07, 04:27 PM   #1
carpediemracing
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helmet cam - Nutmeg Classic, New Britain, CT, Cat 3's

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-gqK3VKNqs

A very sketchy race overall and some interesting bits:
1. close call, someone bunny hops over a high curb and stays upright
2. a couple brake checks
3. close quarters riding shots
4. an interesting sprint

For the text version of the day:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...g-classic.html

The post with the clip in it:
http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...elmet-cam.html

Hope you enjoy,
cdr
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Old 06-11-07, 04:45 PM   #2
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Once again, great video, nice narration. The videos make me want to do something similar, as I feel the best spectating for a race is inside the peloton. Keep them coming!
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Old 06-11-07, 05:48 PM   #3
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yeah def keep them coming.. that seemed like a pretty flat course.. do you have an elevation chart for it?
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Old 06-11-07, 05:54 PM   #4
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Thanks!
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Old 06-11-07, 06:03 PM   #5
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Great video lots of grass surfing! Good finish despite no sprint
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Old 06-11-07, 06:05 PM   #6
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Outstanding! Love the grass surfing!
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Old 06-11-07, 06:08 PM   #7
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Nice video. You definitely do a good job moving up through the pack rather than around it. That's something I'd like to learn how to do.

And did I see someone in the pack with a rear disc wheel?
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Old 06-11-07, 07:26 PM   #8
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Completely awesome, and so nice to see there is racing so close to my home turf. Maybe next year I can give it a try!
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Old 06-11-07, 09:52 PM   #9
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hey cdr- another great one. love reading your blog too.

k-
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Old 06-12-07, 06:42 AM   #10
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thanks for the comments

disk wheel - yes, Paul Curley (multi nat champion - 'cross mostly, but he wins things like Somerville too). He went down hard in that crash. The wheel is a cover - not sure how it survived. I don't remember the last time I saw him crash but it's not in the last decade - therefore if he went down, I knew it was bad on that side of the course.

crash - a lot of guys went down - someone behind me hit the 55 gal drum (garbage can) that I just missed - and it went flying into the air (!). Guy was okay though. All because a guy switched left on the right curb. I looked at the clip on my TV - the guy in second moved left, the guy on his left had to move, went into Curley, Curley went into the guy in front of me, Curley and the guy to his right went down hard. Then everyone piled into them.

new britain - second race this year is second Sunday in July. will have more money usually but no championships. but you can race there

course - no, but it's the park called Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, CT - next to the New Britain General Hospital - perhaps 20 vertical feet gain on the "hill". maybe 30. not a lot but I used to get dropped on it lol.

grass surfing - I did the same thing there a few times over the years. What you don't see is the stairway going up the hill - and the guardrail for it. No one's hit it but a lot of people have just missed it, me included.

The flower bed bunny hop is amazing - the curb is probably 9-10 inches tall. I can bunny hop moderately well but in the heat of a race, to bunny hop that, well, that was impressive.

cdr
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Old 06-12-07, 06:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grebletie
You definitely do a good job moving up through the pack rather than around it. That's something I'd like to learn how to do.
Forgot to comment on this. It's something that I have to do since I die if I go into the wind to move up.

Near the beginning of the race some guy (I think a Junior, and a less experienced one) was having problems maintaining position while inside the field. I watched him go backwards in the field and I only noticed because he was sort of self-commentating on his lack of "position maintaining" skills - like "I can't believe I just lost 5 spots... Man, I just lost two more spots... Why can't I maintain my position... I can't believe this, every time I move up I lose all my spots right after" etc etc. So I watched him lose spots.

What I realized is that his comfort zone (i.e. how close someone could get before he got uncomfortable) was pretty far out there - probably 3-4 feet in front - about 1-1.5 feet to the sides. So he'd leave a 2-3 foot gap to the next guy - and that's enough for someone to take that spot, especially since you could get within a foot to his side and he'd just move over away from you.

When your comfort zone is a lot smaller you can move into spots which allow both you and your comfort zone to fit. I figure mine is 0-1 inch to the side - contact is fine and I've been slammed a few times from both sides without problems. It's maybe 0 to 6" in front - I've jammed my front tire into people's cassettes or quick release skewer levers inadvertently and when I draft people I know I can sit as close as 1-2" comfortably.

Think of it as cats and their whiskers - cats will squeeze into spots if their whiskers (their "comfort zone") say it's okay. But if their whiskers start touching things they may not like it and back off.

I've gotten yelled at because my comfort zone is minimal but I may pass someone who gets freaked out if someone gets within a foot of him. Then I get yelled at to "hold my line" etc. What they don't realize is that I haven't touched them, I'm not going to, and there was plenty of room. They just didn't feel comfortable with me right there.

The way to reduce your comfort zone size is to do drills. For the sides it's simple enough - just practice bumping elbows, shoulders, hips. I'm small on the bike so my shoulders sometimes hit other rider's forearms. You have to keep your torso somewhat independent of the handlebars - meaning if you get bumped in your arm or shoulder, your bars don't get jerked.

For your front zone, you need to practice touching wheels and not going down. I drilled doing this on the grass for a winter and have since used the skills learned a few times to stay up. Also you have to learn how riders react to terrain/pace - like when will they stand up, when will they ease, when will they accelerate. Using some knowledge of human nature, you can somewhat predict what the rider in front will do and adjust for it.

hope this helps,
cdr
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Old 06-12-07, 07:20 AM   #12
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....from your #1 fan, my compliments on another great production.

All I do is stare at that video and say to myself, "THAT's why you can't race!"
Man that's dangerous.

So you keep taking me there, will you?!

Now...tell me more about what is being said in there. I can hear some yelling and comments but not sure what that's all about.

When you said you asked the guy to let you in....stuff like that.
What is the communication level/type in a group of racers going 32 freaking miles per hour at the time!
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Old 06-12-07, 07:42 AM   #13
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Great video. Fun to watch. Gets me itchy for another Tuesday Nighter tonight -- then the big crit this Saturday.


Thanks for sharing!
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Old 06-12-07, 07:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpediemracing
thanks for the comments



course - no, but it's the park called Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, CT - next to the New Britain General Hospital - perhaps 20 vertical feet gain on the "hill". maybe 30. not a lot but I used to get dropped on it lol.



cdr
Racing would be so much more intriguing if i didn't have to worry about getting dropped on 500 foot climbs where i am.
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Old 06-12-07, 10:15 AM   #15
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yelling etc

Just before the bell you hear someone yell "Right!". Someone was making a move on the right - if no one on the left accelerated, the left side would have gotten swamped. When you're at the front it's hard to see moves on the opposite side of the field so you need to have tattlers in the field to give you a heads up. I was on the left a few rows from the front and I definitely didn't want to get swamped. So I yelled "Right!". And everyone on the left accelerated

Some organized teams will have one vocal captain who calls out commands to others (which is the correct thing for the leader to do). For example I've gotten leadouts in the past from teammates. One in particular was a full one lap leadout from a guy Chris at this course. On that back stretch, where it's easy to move up on the left, I kept an eye behind us by looking back every couple seconds (Chris was going fast enough that the first 10-15 riders were in single file, perhaps 35 mph at that point). I saw a big group surging on the left - so I yelled to Chris, "Left!". He immediately started moving left (not like a swerve, more like a drift across the road). The 10-15 guys on my wheel moved left also, eating up a lot of pavement - and the surge ran out of room. After the race I saw a friend of mine, asked him how he did. Said that he was too far back at the bell, went with a big surge on the left, then suddenly everyone slammed their brakes on. End of the surge, he was still 30-40 riders back, and end of his race.

When I mention using gaps to move up in the clip - the guy with the disk is in front to my left. He tries to move left and opens a gap which I fill. After I pass the guy with the disk, there's some yelling behind me. Apparently the gap I left (when I moved forward, relative to the field) got filled by two people at once - the guy with the disk and the guy on my wheel. Someone else might have yelled something - you tend to yell if you see two guys about to do something stupid, esp near the end of a race.

You probably heard the "nice save" type yells when the guy bunny hopped into the flowers. You get those too, the complimentary yells.

The grass surfer - guys were telling him to keep pedaling, keep it upright, etc. It wasn't a dumb move, probably a bunch of us would have done the same thing had we been in the same situation, so you tend to forgive what might be considered "not good" by other less hungry and less amp'ed racers. It's a good move if it works and you stay upright. You may notice a lot of hesitation to the grass surfer's left - everyone is waiting to see if "grass surfer" can handle his bike. He can so everyone proceeds.

Sometimes you get the "Hey guys, none of us want to crash, let's take this turn smooth." And when you exit the turn you hear "thanks guys, let's do that at the next turn" lol. It didn't happen here though.

Some of the yelling is simply spectators yelling.

glad you enjoyed,
cdr
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Old 06-12-07, 11:54 AM   #16
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...again....thanks for taking the time to put those videos together....and to answer questions like this, helping to teach me some of this stuff.
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Old 06-12-07, 12:54 PM   #17
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One thing I noticed and was pleased about in my race on Saturday (a road race and my first where a sizeable pack remained intact for any sigificant time) was the level of positive communication in the pack. We were calling out holes, gravel, turns etc. I didn't expect this, but it was a good feeling knowing that most people were looking out for the good of the group from a safety perspective.
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Old 06-12-07, 02:47 PM   #18
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Regarding yelling...

Years ago, I was in a race when a guy yelled out "my wheel!" as there was a gap forming to my right - big enough for me to shift right. I moved in and got the wheel and the guy who ended up behind me kept yelling about how it was his wheel. My thoughts were, why let such a big gap form in front of you and besides, you're only one bike length behind the wheel you were chasing.

Cdr, keep the videos coming. Great stuff!
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Old 06-12-07, 02:51 PM   #19
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So what I am learning from the videos here and the conversation here, is that inside that pack little things become big things. It becomes about knowing when/how to pick and choose a wheel or line to follow...when/where to attempt to fill a gap you see ahead of you. But make a mistake and you make enemies or cause a crash at high speed then huh?
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Old 06-12-07, 08:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carpediemracing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-gqK3VKNqs
.......
Hope you enjoy,
cdr
hey, thanks very much for posting this. very enjoyable. i've been biking for many, many years, but only got interested in racing recently. in fact, this very race here was one of only a couple i've attended. i definitely learned a lot watching it from the inside.

i heard that this particular course, Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, CT, was specifically designed for critierium racing, and is exactly one mile. it was built in 1870s or so, and was park designer Frederick Law Olmstead's first commision, before he went on to do NYC Central Park among other projects.
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