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Old 09-06-07, 06:27 PM   #1
Jynx
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How do you race safely?

Hey guys, I stumbled across this thread in a search and am looking for some opinions/advice.

http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=315550

The thread is mostly about crashes during crits.

I am interested in starting to race cat 5 but my question is slightly different. I have been riding for a little over a year. I have always rode by myself. Haven't done any group rides or races. Obviously if I were to race I would start in Cat 5. My concern is how can I do it safely. My concern may seem like I am scared to crash but what I mean is I am scared to cause a crash. I definately wouldn't try to cause a crash intentionally but being new I can see it happening. How can I get skilled enough to not be able to cause crashes, near misses, or other frustrating circumstances? Having never raced I do lack experience, so is there anyway to work on this or do you just have to go out and race?
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Old 09-06-07, 06:37 PM   #2
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i would definatley go on group rides first. im in your position also, i havent started racing yet but doing group rides is a good way to learn how to ride in a pack.
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Old 09-06-07, 06:59 PM   #3
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In no particular order:
1. Relax.

2. Practice cornering until you are so supple that you can almost sleep through them.

3. Watch the problem areas where crashes occur. Oddly, the worst crashes are in the straighaways where speeds are high and wheels overlap.

4. Learn to identify "wrong" convergences of riders. (you can sometimes predict crashes by how riders are approaching corners. Learn to see the wrong ones.)

5. Watch out for sudden speed changes. When it slows, it bunches. When it speeds up, everyone is scrambling for a wheel.

6. Look farther ahead.

7. Pay attention later in the race when people start getting tired and sloppy.

8. Relax some more.

9. Practice bumping elbows with your clubmates. Learn that it's not the end of the world.
My teammate and I got to the point where we could slam into each other pretty rough, lean on each other, and recover. Try it. It's fun.

10. Don't change the tire pressure in an attempt to get more grip. That's a fallacy.
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Old 09-06-07, 07:00 PM   #4
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Try some group rides, and remember you are racing for stuff that is not worth even minor road rash.
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Old 09-06-07, 07:25 PM   #5
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group rides are obvious. Learn how to handle your bike particularly with corners. Practice in a parking lot somewhere. when you race, if you are scared, be near an edge, either one of the sides, on the front or on the back. This way you aren't claustrophobic and you have some wiggle room. Finally, yeah, you don't want to cause a crash, but no one does. They still happen. Experience will be a good thing.
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Old 09-06-07, 07:43 PM   #6
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Don't bother with all that bike handling balony! Be "safe" the BF way. Ride mainly TT's, and if you must mass start avoid Crits like the plague. Get in every breakaway, and or get droped off the back. And above all else if you see a field sprint comming try a flyer.
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Old 09-06-07, 07:55 PM   #7
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Time Trials.
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Old 09-06-07, 08:03 PM   #8
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group rides, group rides, and group rides. Sooner or later you will get comfortable enough NOT to over adjust to situations that arise. Most crashes happen because of over adjustment (at least for beginners). Get yourself comfortable riding in close proximity to other riders.
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Old 09-06-07, 08:18 PM   #9
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Time Trials.
Correct. And if you handle a bicycle like a total ****** even this is no guarantee.
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Old 09-06-07, 08:55 PM   #10
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As a fellow cat 5'er, here are my tips: Do some local group rides to get a feel for being in close quarters with other riders. Then, just plain go enter a race. Don't try to attack, don't worry about drafting 1 mm off the wheel in front of you, don't chase the breakaway. Just ride in the pack then slowly ease your way up some spots. Go easy and at your own pace. After all, cat 5 is about finding a comfort zone, not winning the race. Heck, you aren't even after points and you won't get any money for coming in at the front.
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Old 09-06-07, 09:37 PM   #11
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Sitting near the front is safer IMO. Less bunching into the corners, less acceleration out, making for a much smoother race. Usually the sketchiest riders are farther back (don't be THAT GUY, though). Plus you can see better. But first, do group rides (as if enough people hadn't already said that).
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Old 09-06-07, 10:52 PM   #12
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Correct. And if you handle a bicycle like a total ****** even this is no guarantee.
You mean like that Danish fellow MR a couple of years ago?
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Old 09-07-07, 08:10 AM   #13
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Get off the front by 100 meters and stay there.
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Old 09-07-07, 08:25 AM   #14
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Time trials have some pretty bad crashes.
1. the bikes are built for speed, not handling.
2. morons ride with their heads down
3. more speed than they can handle.
4. too much concentration on technique, not enough on the road.
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Old 09-07-07, 08:36 AM   #15
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At least if you crash in a TT, it will be your own fault.
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Old 09-07-07, 09:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Time trials have some pretty bad crashes.
1. the bikes are built for speed, not handling.
2. morons ride with their heads down
3. more speed than they can handle.
4. too much concentration on technique, not enough on the road.
I think this is all covered by 'bike handling ******'. In my view the most crucial part about riding a TT bike is knowing when to NOT be on the aerobars. Some of these pinheads are worried about shaving seconds instead of the DNF that will result if they CRASH. My TT bike handles as well as any racing bike I've owned when I'm on the cowhorns. When bike handling might be impacted by aero positioning, I use the cowhorns. Those are the handlebars with the friggin brakes on them velo cadets.
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Old 09-07-07, 09:14 AM   #17
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Ride with groups and just remember one thing-don't overlap wheels, don't overlap wheels.
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Old 09-07-07, 09:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
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6. Look farther ahead.
ES posted all great advice, but this, along with being relaxed will help you do the rest.

You can also pick out someone who is a better racer than you, and a little bit stronger, and just sit on their wheel for a few races. You still have to watch out for everything, but they'll be picking the responses to things up ahead, and you'll probably get a better finish than if you rode it on your own. Eventually you'll start to see ways that you could finish better than them. Combined with looking way ahead, you'll learn fast.
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Old 09-07-07, 09:40 AM   #19
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Stay near the front and pick out the dangerous people early on. Stay in front of them.
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Old 09-07-07, 09:44 AM   #20
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Off the back is pretty safe.
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Old 09-07-07, 10:08 AM   #21
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Stay near the front and pick out the dangerous people early on. Stay in front of them.
In 7 full seasons of racing 20-35x annually, I crashed in a mass start race once. The biggest reason for this was I generally tried very hard to race near the front at all times, mainly to stay out of crashes. Doesn't always work, but most crashes do not happen near the front. I've had many crashes *just* slide by my rear wheel. One or two places back and I would have been down.
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Old 09-07-07, 11:27 AM   #22
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One of the funniest crashes I've seen was in a TT. Dude takes a turn too hot and slides out. He sits up next to his bike, wheels still spinning. A few seconds later POP! rear tire blows! Like on of those old cartoons where the final brick falls on a characters head long after the rest. Kind of added insult to injury (guess you had to be there).
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Old 09-07-07, 11:29 AM   #23
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Solo breakaway.
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Old 09-07-07, 11:43 AM   #24
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Solo breakaway.
Or of course, Pcad's preferred method these days, Solo dropaway.
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Old 09-07-07, 12:00 PM   #25
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10. Don't change the tire pressure in an attempt to get more grip. That's a fallacy.
Not so sure about that. A tire under high pressure will tend to bounce and skip where a low pressure tire will deform over objects and maintain contact. I always reduce pressure for tight cornered crits or bad pavement.
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