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Old 08-04-03, 06:47 AM   #1
pgreene
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First race: must it be Cat 5?

i'm debating signing up for my first race. do i have to register as a cat 5? the cat 5 race is ridiculously short and i worry about the non-group riders causing problems. i'd feel much more comfortable with folks who've ridden in groups before (which i do every week, so no worries there). do USCF regs make me ride with the 5's the first time out?
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Old 08-04-03, 08:42 AM   #2
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Yes, you must start as a Cat 5 racer.
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Old 08-04-03, 08:46 AM   #3
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Just go out there and demoralize the competition every race and you'll move up quickly. But yes we all start at the bottom.
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Old 08-04-03, 09:08 AM   #4
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I ** think ** you can apply for special treatment, but you would still have to start at Cat 5, but I bet if you went out and put 2 laps on the field in the first couple of races it wouldn't be that hard to convince the powers that be that you really belong in a higher Category. And if not, find Cat 5 races with a lower number of riders, down here every once in awhile you'll find a Cat 5 race with a relatively small pack.

And riding in a club ride, even a fast paced one is still different than riding in a Crit. So either ride at the front or the back if you are worried about the pile up's. Lastly, remember that pile up's happen in every Category, all the way up to the Cat 1's.

Andrew
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Old 08-04-03, 09:31 AM   #5
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thanks guys. i'll just sign up and attack hard the first lap, ride it like a time trial... of course i could very well be overestimating myself, and could get crushed. in that case, i'll deny this thread ever existed.
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Old 08-04-03, 10:04 AM   #6
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I can remember many a time looking at the field before a start and thinking that this should be an easy race only to quickly find myself struggling to hold on to the back of a 30mph paceline.
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Old 08-04-03, 10:15 AM   #7
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I can remember many a time looking at the field before a start and thinking that this should be an easy race only to quickly find myself struggling to hold on to the back of a 30mph paceline.
I remember going to watch some Crits down here to see how tough they would be, and even the Cat 5 guys were going at an average of 26mph, and this was over a short course with A LOT of corners.

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thanks guys. i'll just sign up and attack hard the first lap, ride it like a time trial... of course i could very well be overestimating myself, and could get crushed. in that case, i'll deny this thread ever existed.
Check out http://www.coachcarl.com and read some of his articles on lapping a field, etc. He goes into a lot of detail about the psych involved in breakaways and lapping the field along with demoralizing the competition, etc.

Good luck! And let us know how it goes.

Andrew
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Old 08-04-03, 10:47 AM   #8
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Don't be fooled by shorter Cat 5 races. If you ride as hard as you can you'll be glad it was only 38 minutes and 15 miles.

Don't be fooled by Cat 5 riders. Many of these guys are pretty fast. I've ridden in Cat 5 crits against semi-pro XC guys trying to make the switch. They killed everyone, but still had to ride their 10 mass-start races before moving to Cat 4.

Don't be fooled into thinking that crits are anything like a big group ride out on the highway. Riding into 90 degree turns shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of other guys at 20+ mph takes some getting used to. Don't forget those manhole covers that always seemed to be right in the corner's apex.

Don't be fooled into thinking you cannot do this. You can.

In a 19 lap, 8-corner, 15 mile Cat 5 crit I rode last month the average speed was 24.5 mph.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old 08-04-03, 08:19 PM   #9
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Originally posted by pgreene
thanks guys. i'll just sign up and attack hard the first lap, ride it like a time trial... of course i could very well be overestimating myself, and could get crushed.
Yep. Bad plan. That's exactly what 95% of the other cat 5s are planning. Search this forum for the other "first race" threads (mine included).
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Old 08-05-03, 09:50 AM   #10
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Memories. My very first Crit I won a Prime in the middle of the race for some Rudy Project sunglasses (Still have them in the original box). ON the last lap I was out front-off the front by maybe 50' and thought-WOW_I am gonna win my first Crit. and my first USCF Race!!! Right before the last corner-half the field went by me like I was standing still!!! What a wake-up call!!! It was actually really funny.

From that day on-I never did great at Crits-not because of that, but I just learned I didnt have the cajones or the strategy to stay at the front in the end and riding at the middle or back just tires you out doing the accordian!!!

Crits are a different beast thats for sure!!! Fast, scary, strategy and muscle, Bike handling and bravado and even a bit of Meanness all required for greatness. OH and a killer sprint too!!!
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Old 08-05-03, 04:08 PM   #11
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I'm cat5 new this year and have already learned to avoid crits. There are some good road races around here at enough of a frequency to keep me going. Nice 8 mile loops and up. Problem in crits, esp. cat 5 are the 16-year-old hotrods with no fear who just cut people off on turns. I've seen most crashes happen that way. Bike racing certainly requires some significant nerves.
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Old 08-06-03, 06:41 AM   #12
pgreene
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well, i successfully avoided my first major crash last night--the slower of the two "simulated race" groups that ride tuesday night. guy two up from me clipped a wheel, went down taking the guy behind him. i started to go down and managed to clip out and wind up running out of it. lost some bar tape and scratched stuff up, but that was it.

the reason i thought i'd want to attack early is twofold:
a) it's a VERY short race. might just be able to hammer the whole thing and
2) if i'm not at or near the front, i'm scared of those 16 year olds you just referred to.

i think i'll give it a go, though i'm afraid of what will happen if i start racing regularly.
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Old 08-06-03, 07:29 AM   #13
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As someone pointed out, everyone else will have the same plan. Don't be surprised if you find yourself struggling to hang onto the pack, surprised by just how fast the people out front are riding.

I always hated the start of a short race. I was never completely warmed up and there was always two or three yahoos who would drag the pack along at 26 MPH. Eventually things would settle down and it was easy to stay at the front.

Good luck!
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Old 08-06-03, 09:28 AM   #14
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I've got a whole two Cat. 5 crits under my belt and I had the same, "I should be able to attack game plan"...boy, was I wrong. The first race averaged 24.4 MPH and the second one was at 25.5! That's pretty fast to attack and maintain, I did go out solo for a half a lap during the first race, and let me tell you I have never been so happy to get caught...it was brutal!!! Good luck!
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Old 08-06-03, 09:41 AM   #15
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Yeah, if you can attack a 25 MPH pack and maintain a gap, you won't be racing cat 5 for long.
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Old 08-06-03, 11:23 AM   #16
pinky
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zlj75...that was at wells ave wasnt it?
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