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  1. #1
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    Another First Crit Report

    After a snap decision last week to give racing a go I headed out to Lafayette for my first crit this morning. Coming over the Bay Bridge from the ultra-foggy city it started to clear up and by the time we were through the Caldecott tunnel it was beautiful. We parked and I got checked in a little later than I would have liked, but with a delay and being the first race I still got a pretty decent warm-up on the course itself. With the feel of the super smooth, recently re-paved road, and a great night's sleep behind me I felt pretty good.

    With a six or seven lap warm up on the course I felt pretty good about the two kind of tricky turns and after we got underway they didn't give me any trouble. The pace from the start seemed was pretty tame and I managed to sit in the middle of the pack pretty comfortably.

    However, after a few laps the pace heated a bit and after six or laps or so I found it harder and harder to stick to any given wheel. Tried as I might whenever the smallest gap opened up in front of my someone would pull in and take the wheel I was desperately trying to hold.

    I bailed myself out after eight and a half laps(~17 mins and the halfway point), rather than getting whistled off. I cut up across a side street just in time to see the pack a half lap ahead of me.

    All in all I'm pretty disappointed I didn't finish, much less stick to a wheel and hold on a bit longer. However I'm not being too harsh on myself. It was my first race, and while I had some idea of what to expect I didn't really have any idea how I'd stack up. I don't think I made any huge tactical or technical errors. I tried to stick to one wheel and maintain a position in the middle of the pack. I didn't hop around a lot and waste a lot of energy. I took the corners fast and didn't have to make up much, if any, lost speed.

    At the end, after some guys got dropped in the first few laps, it was me and another much older guy sucking my wheel for a two and half laps a quarter lap behind the group. I got frustrated that I couldn't shake the older guy and make up the gap, but even if I was able to pull off that minor miracle I wouldn't of had anything left to stay with the group. The last third of the course was a slight rise that you'd hardly notice just doing once, but accelerating up it the eighth time after a hairpin turn started to eat up my legs.

    So, for my first race I'm not too bummed. It was good learning experience and I'm eager to get out there again (so feel free to watch me get dropped in Albany next week). I figure I'll just keep at it, I'll come a little closer to finishing each time, then I'll come a little closer to coming top ten each time, and so on. I'll put my results today down to lack of fitness and mental discipline. So next time I'll hold that wheel at all costs and see how far it takes me. I've got a pretty good idea of what I need to work on as well.

    Some numbers:

    Time: 00:16:38
    Distance: 5.63 mi
    Avg Speed: 20.36
    Max Speed: 30.32 mi
    Avg Cadence: 83 rpm
    Max Cadence: 126 rpm
    Avg HR: 182 bpm
    Max HR: 193 bpm

    I'm going to win Albany.

  2. #2
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    Try upping your cadence to around 100. In criteriums its all the accelerations that wear you down and then eventually drop you. With higher cadence its take less effort to accelerate.

    Another suggestion is to do intervals.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho
    Try upping your cadence to around 100. In criteriums its all the accelerations that wear you down and then eventually drop you. With higher cadence its take less effort to accelerate.

    Another suggestion is to do intervals.
    Thanks for the tips,

    I think my cadence registers inaccurately - I haven't updated my Edge and it averages time spent at 0 rpms into the total. So, yes, when I am spinning it's closer to 100. I try to power through the turns, but when they are tight enough I can't help but coast. Looking at the graph of my ride it looks like any portion spent pedaling is between 90-100, what dragged down the average is coasting in corners and accelerating out of them.

    I'm going to be on those intervals like white on rice. I try to do at least one interval session a week, one ride (Tuesdays in the park) that simulates a crit, and hills, hills, and more hills - plus whatever long fun rides I can get in, and commuting.

  4. #4
    Race to train jrennie's Avatar
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    Remember guys have been racing all year and this is your first try. Nor-Cal seems to be pretty crit heavy on events so they have lots of practice. I think I'm going to albany also, what catagory are you racing?

  5. #5
    The Guadfather Lecterman's Avatar
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    Good job, looks like we both got our cherries popped with no physical harm.
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  6. #6
    Burning Matches. ElJamoquio's Avatar
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    Congrats for starting.

    FYI, if someone came in on your wheel, you let more than a 'small gap' open. Of course you already know that.
    Reacting is mind candy; it requires no thought. Thinking is tedious.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrennie
    I think I'm going to albany also, what catagory are you racing?
    Cat-5-o-meter: 50%.

    Quote Originally Posted by ElJamoquio
    FYI, if someone came in on your wheel, you let more than a 'small gap' open. Of course you already know that.
    Definitely starts small I was pretty pleased with my handling skills for the portion of the race I was able to stay in. But I know what you are saying, as soon as I let that wheel go it's all over.

  8. #8
    slow up hills kudude's Avatar
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    "if you're not moving up, you're moving back"

    The bit of coasting on the backside before the hairpin was a place to pick up spots, as was the top before turn 1, or on the incline, when sprinting out of the turn, do 2 more pedal revolutions and then coast up the side. It's tough, but just hanging on a wheel will get you pushed off the back (i should know)
    Quote Originally Posted by mr_tom View Post
    Cycling isn't a sport. It's more like a really, really expensive eating disorder.

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